The audaciously funky and multi-talented Danish bassist-singer-songwriter-bandleader Ida Nielsen, a former member of two of Prince’s backing bands — New Power Generation and the four-piece rock-edged 3rd Eye Girl — is set to release her sixth album as a leader overall and fourth since the passing of her former mentor in April 2016. Playing her signature 4-string Sandberg California electric bass with typical authority while fronting all the vocals and also supplying multiple keyboard parts, Nielsen combines slamming funk beats, slap bass virtuosity, agile rapping, catchy pop hooks and tons of attitude on More Sauce, Please!
From the hard-hitting opener, “Been Trying,” featuring slick turntable scratching by Congolese DJ Amazulu Nanga and a burning alto sax solo from her countryman Jakob Elvstrøm, to the orchestral pop rap closer, “Give Me A Bit Of…,” More Sauce, Please! throbs with high energy and bristles with stunning musicianship by the multi-talented bandleader. Added to the potent mix are the adept rapping of Son of Light on the slow-chugging funk of “Bounce Like a Grandma,” the playful call-and-response between Ida and Finnish beat boxer/scratch maestro Felix Zenger on the slamming rock-funk number,“Ninja,” the infectious ‘70s flavored “Glorious Disco” and the mondo-slap bass and two-handed tapping showcase, “Slappadibopbop,”
Nielsen showcases her own formidable rapping chops by spitting some rapid-fire rhymes on “Kuku Put Some Sauce On It,” and she supplies multi-layered vocal harmony on the entrancing “More People Like You.” Her meditation on love lost, “It’s Gone,” features some telling lines from rapper Victor Danos while Ida’s exhortation to “tap into emancipation” on “Shake It Off” reads like an optimistic anthem for her fellow funkateers: “If your life sucks, whatcha gonna do? (Shake it off!)/If your heart breaks, whatcha gonna do? (Shake it off!)/If you’re stress level’s going through the roof, whatcha gonna do? (Shake it off!).”
Nielsen also pays tribute to Prince on the Minneapolis styled funk number, “Bounce Back,” which features her singing in Prince-like falsetto, a la “Kiss” or “Cindy C,” and also carries a rampaging slap bass solo in mid-song. “I learned so much from Prince that it is difficult to boil down to a few lines,” she explained, “but what I usually say about the whole experience is that it was a huge gift and the most magical musical journey ever, and an ongoing learning experience beyond all imagination.’” Ida, who dedicated her 2016 album TurnItUp to her late mentor, added, “The most important thing Prince taught me was to play with my heart, always!”
It was in August of 2010 that the Danish bassist received a call at her home in Copenhagen from The Purple One himself to come to Paisley Park to jam with him. It turned out to be a kind of informal audition; one that Ida passed with flying colors. As she recalled, “Prince’s manager at the time called me and said that he saw my Myspace profile and would like to jam with me. And then she told me that she would call me back. And when two weeks went by without a call, I totally thought it was a prank. All my friends knew it was my biggest dream to play with Prince so I almost did not dare to believe it in the first place. But eventually she did call me back. And, of course, that whole ride was life changing in so many ways.” She added, “I was an all-round bass player before I joined Prince in 2010, but my heart was always with the funk. I just love it so much. And I think this is what got me the NPG gig in the first place.”
Aside from Prince, whom she toured with from 2010 until his premature departure in 2016, Nielsen has cited such bassists as Marcus Miller, Mark King, Larry Graham, Bootsy Collins and Victor Wooten as her slap bass role models, which is evident in her own thunderous approach on More Sauce, Please. “All my albums are bass heavy, old school funk with flavors of hiphop, reggae, neo soul and world music,” she said. “My last album, 02022020, was more lofi, dreamy and loungy because I felt like doing something else, and a lot of my fans were disappointed by the lack of slamming funk. So I am now back on the old school funk track and actually created some aliases to be able to channel my writing in other genres elsewhere.”
Born in the small Denmark town of Aarhus, Ida began singing in the school choir before picking up the bass at age 16. She spent most of the ‘90s studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Music before joining a number of bands in and out of college. She toured Europe with the pop group Michael Learns To Rock from Denmark and was later hired as touring bassist with the Belgian-African band Zap Mama, founded by Zaire native Marie Daulne. Nielsen released her debut as a leader, 2008’s groove-laden Marmalade, under the name Bassida. It introduced her funky signature, which would later manifest on her second solo album, 2011’s Sometimes a Girl Needs Some Sugar Too, as well on 2016’s TurnItUp, 2019’s Time 2 Stop Worrying and 2020’s 02022020.
In 2014, Nielsen played alongside Prince, guitarist Donna Grantis and drummer Hannah Welton on 3rd Eye Girl’s PlectrumElectrum. She last performed with Prince at an exclusive, celebrity-studded New Year’s Eve bash hosted by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich in St. Barts on Jan. 1, 2016. As she told MusicRadar: “I realize that there’s a lot of Prince fans out there that want to support me. I really appreciate that, and I really appreciate that they still love the funk.”
And there is plenty of funk for fans to savor on Ida’s latest, More Sauce, Please!
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