Recently, I interviewed American soul singer Gina Carey, ahead of the release of her ninth album, Gina Carey…The Songbird. During that interview, Gina spoke of how Gina Carey…The Songbird is the start of a new chapter in her seventeen year career. With a new manager guiding her career, the future looks bright for Gina. She’s back, stronger, wiser and even more soulful than ever. Then there’s her forthcoming album Gina Carey…The Songbird which will be released on 31st January 2013. Gina Carey…The Songbird has been kept tightly under wraps. Few people have had the opportunity to hear Gina Carey…The Songbird. I however, am one of the lucky ones. Just a few days ago, I received a copy of Gina Carey…The Songbird, and will tell you about the album, after I’ve told you about Gina’s career so far.

Back in 1996, Gina got her professional breakthrough. She was asked to sing backing vocals for God’s Original Gangsters. After that, Gina signed to Grapetree Records, who released Gina’s debut album In His Time. This was the first of three gospel albums Gina released. In His Time sold over ten thousand copies throughout the United States. Gina was later nominated for two awards by the Black Music Academy Association of America. Following the success of In His Time, Gina came crashing back to earth. Grapetree Records folded, leaving Gina without a label.

Seven years after the release of In His Time, Gina was back, but now she was independent artist. She released her sophomore album Changes in 2003. Then in 2006, Gina released her third gospel album, Tell Um. Her next album would be quite different.

Having released a trio of gospel albums, Gina released her fourth album and what was first soul album My Journey, in 2008. Then three years later, Gina released her most successful soul album, Melodic, in 2011. Melodic reached number one in the UK Soul Charts and was named as one of the best soul albums of 2011. The following year, 2012, Gina would be crowned as the hardest working woman in soul music, releasing three albums.

During 2012 released her trio of albums, Love Letters, Love Letters 2 and Live, Love and Laugh Volume 1. This she managed to do between February and September 2012. Having released three albums during 2012, Gina decided to start work on her ninth album. Gina returned to the studio. She started work on what would become he ninth album Gina Carey…The Songbird, which features thirteen slices of deeply soulful music, which I’ll now tell you about.

Opening Gina Carey…The Songbird is Love Me Too, an uptempo track. Gina’s sultry whispered vocal and a wistful flute combine, before pounding drums and backing vocals enter. Soon, she unleashes a heartfelt, soaring vocal. She scats jazz style, her vocal drenched in delay, demonstrating a powerful, versatile vocal style. Jazz and soul become one. Searing guitars and drums, dramatically accompanying her. The result is a dramatic, but soulful track. Having gotten your attention, you hungrily await the rest of Gina Carey…The Songbird.

There’s no drop in tempo during This Joy, an uplifting and inspirational dance-floor friendly track. Here, Nu-Soul and dance music combine seamlessly. A pumping arrangement, driven along by pounding drums, a sprinkling of melodic keyboards and percussion accompany Gina’s sassy, joyous vocal. The lyrics are a paean to positivity, with Gina’s delivery filled with joy and emotion. Hooks certainly haven’t been rationed, during this soulful, inspirational, dance-floor friendly track.

When The One For Me opens, Gina throws something of a curveball. Keyboards and a roll of drums give way to crispy drums and Gina’s smooth, soulful vocal. Then things get even better. Gina delivers one of her inimitable vocals. It’s unmistakably Gina Carey, but even better than previous albums. Since Live, Love and Laugh Volume 1, Gina’s vocal has gotten even better. Tender, sensuous and sincere are just some words that describe her vocal.  Beautiful and soulful are two more. Her vocal cascades and quivers as backing vocals accompanying her. Just drums, keyboards and the backing vocalists, for company, Gina delivers one of her best vocals on Gina Carey…The Songbird.

Never Ending is a mid-tempo Nu-Soul track, where Gina delivers a powerful, confident vocal. Drums, hissing hi-hats and bursts of rasping horns set the scene for her vocal. Multi-tracked backing vocals accompany her, as she delivers a vocal that’s strident, soulful and confident.

My Hero is one of four singles that’ll be released from Gina Carey…The Songbird. It’s another mid-tempo track, that feature a sassy, playful vocal from Gina. Crispy drums, keyboards and organ accompany Gina, as she kicks loose. Her vocal grows in power, passion and playfulness, giving thanks to her hero. Soon, strident and sassy, describes her vocal, as is becomes a confident drawl as she sings: “a real cool daddy.” By the end of the track, you realise why it’s been chosen as a single. Not only is it hooky and infectiously catchy, but anthemic and radio friendly.

Stabs of organ open This Is Our Moment, while a bass prowls along and is joined by drums. Gina scats, while backing vocals take charge. Having set the scene, Gina delivers a quick, quivering vocal. Swathes of backing vocals answer his call, while stabs of organ and the prowling bass. The interplay between Gina and the backing vocals are key to the track. They drive each other to greater heights of urgency and soulfulness.

Take Me Hold Me sees the tempo drop. Not only is it the slowest song on Gina Carey…The Songbird, but one of the most beautiful. Just an acoustic guitar, whispered backing vocals and keyboards accompany Gina’s heartfelt and tender vocal. Later, the rhythm section and percussion combine, as the arrangement meandering along, providing the perfect backdrop for Gina’s sensual, seductive vocal.

Hey Mr. is the lead single from Gina Carey…The Songbird. It’s no wonder. Quite simply, it’s laden with poppy hooks and is one of those tracks that once you’ve heard, won’t forget. The lyrics are infectiously catchy. Here, Gina fuses country and folk with soul and dance music. This works magically. Gina, like a sassy Pied Piper, swings along, trailing mesmeriSing, poppy hooks aplenty, while seamlessly fusing musical genres. One listen and  you’ll be smitten.

Straight away, when you hear With You, you’d think that Gina’s musical roots were in New Orleans, not the Windy City of Chicago. The reason for this are the New Orleans’ horns that are crucial to this track’s success. Drums open the track, before the horns take charge. They remind me of New Orleans’ marching bands. When they drop out, Gina’s joyous vocal enters. Backing vocalists join her. Together, they march along, with the horns and drums providing a musical backdrop. Yet again, Gina demonstrates her versatility as a songwriter and singer. Here she’s mixed soul, funk and New Orleans’ marching bands. In doing so, the result is quite irresistible.

Of the thirteen tracks on Gina Carey…The Songbird, Step Into My Love is my favorite track. Slow, sensual and soulful describes the song perfectly. Just slow, spacious drums and a dusting of percussion sets the scene to Gina’s slow, sultry and heartfelt vocal.  An acoustic guitar, drums and bass join backing vocalists, join  Gina. She surpasses everything that’s gone before. Not only is this her best vocal on Gina Carey…The Songbird but is the best track on the album. It’s so good, it sounds like it belongs on an album by Sade.

Lullaby sees the tempo increase, but there’s no drop in the quality. Indeed, Gina picks up where she left off on Step Into My Love. She delivers one of her sweetest and soulful vocals. Her delivery is impassioned and tender, quivering and shivering in emotion. Just keyboards, percussion and the rhythm section join Gina and the backing vocalists, as she delivers a vocal that’s sweet and soulful, but also heartfelt and tender.

Swathes of keyboards build the drama and emotion before Nothing reveals its soulful secrets.  Once the drama has reached a crescendo, the baton passes to Gina. Her vocal is sincere and impassioned. Just drums, organ and backing vocalists accompany her, before the arrangement takes on a contemporary sound. There’s even the addition of a few hip hop scratches.  Sometimes, it becomes a sassy drawl, when it soars powerfully above the arrangement. Always it’s soulful, just as you’d expect from Gina Carey…The Songbird.

Closing Gina Carey…The Songbird is My Sunshine. This is a fitting title, given it’s an uplifting, uptempo track where Nu-Soul, jazz, funk and dance music combine. As if determined to close Gina Carey…The Songbird on a real high, Gina unleashes a powerful, passionate and soulful vocal. Piano and the rhythm section join backing vocalists accompany Gina. Later, she unleashes a jazzy scat, demonstrating her talent and versatility, as only Gina Carey…The Songbird can.

As Gina Carey opens a new chapter to her career, I can honestly say that Gina Carey…The Songbird, is the best album of Gina’s seventeen year career. It’s as if since we last heard from Gina Carey…The Songbird that she’s matured, developed and grown as a singer and songwriter. Gina wrote and produced each of the thirteen tracks on Gina Carey…The Songbird. Not only has her voice matured, but so has her songwriting and production skills.

Like previous albums, Gina combines musical genres and influences. There’s everything from Nu-Soul, jazz, funk, soul and Latin music. To that, there’s also a hint of blues, folk and country. I’d describe Gina Carey…The Songbird as a genre-sprawling album, where Gina explores and incorporates musical influences seamlessly.

Good as albums like Melodic, Love Letters and Live, Love and Laugh Volume 1 were, Gina Carey…The Songbird surpasses this. Quite simply Gina Carey…The Songbird is a game-changer of an album. Gina Carey…The Songbird should see Gina make the next step in her career. Commercial success and critical acclaim are about to come Gina Carey…The Songbird’s way. It’s as if each of Gina’s previous eight albums have been working towards Gina Carey…The Songbird.

Although Gina Carey has enjoyed commercial success before, Gina Carey…The Songbird which will be released by Gico Music on 31st January 2013 should surpass their success. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next time we hear from Gina Carey…The Songbird, she’ll be signed to a much bigger label. Given how talented and versatile a singer, songwriter and producer Gina Carey…The Songbird this, would be no surprise. With new management guiding her career, then Gina Carey…The Songbird is the start of a new, exciting and successful chapter in the career of Gina Carey…The Songbird. Standout Tracks: This Joy, Hey Mr, Step Into My Love and Lullaby.


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