Gianna - Something True (2009)

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    Kendall Duffie, half of the musical duo Kloud 9, has been in the music business long enough to have protégé. There are plenty of artists who would likely have the comfort of Kloud 9's vocals and musical arrangement as well as lyrics that have a mature, optimistic and somewhat spiritual feel. A singer such as Gianna Welling, a vocalist whose smooth vocals have both pop and jazz sensibilities, is the idea female singer to be recruited into the Kloud 9 camp.

    Kendall Duffie turns out to be the right choice to produce Welling's debut record Something True because the Kloud 9 signature smooth sound plays well to Welling's pop, jazz and musical theater background. The first thing listeners will likely notice about Welling is her phrasing and what I call musical diction. The listener hears and understands every word that Welling sings.

    Kendall Duffie, half of the musical duo Kloud 9, has been in the music business long enough to have protégé. There are plenty of artists who would likely have the comfort of Kloud 9's vocals and musical arrangement as well as lyrics that have a mature, optimistic and somewhat spiritual feel. A singer such as Gianna Welling, a vocalist whose smooth vocals have both pop and jazz sensibilities, is the idea female singer to be recruited into the Kloud 9 camp.

    Kendall Duffie turns out to be the right choice to produce Welling's debut record Something True because the Kloud 9 signature smooth sound plays well to Welling's pop, jazz and musical theater background. The first thing listeners will likely notice about Welling is her phrasing and what I call musical diction. The listener hears and understands every word that Welling sings. That is something she likely learned at the feet of her father, the late Joe Welling, a professional session musician who worked with pop, rock and country artists such as the Carpenters.

    Welling also performed in Tulsa's theater community, which also likely influenced her vocal style. Her pop stylings provide a good complement for Duffie's jazz influenced arrangements. Something True finds Welling singing at a variety of tempos, and she is able to keep up with each, most impressively the up-tempo brass driven arrangement on the album's final track, "One Step Closer."

    Welling vocals are sensual on the Latin tinged "Took the Last Train," which is the disc's best track. The tune "Things That I Do," has a funky attitude that brings to mind The Brand New Heavies' remake of Stevie Wonder's "I Don't Know Why." Welling doesn't question why she allows her lover to treat her shabbily. Instead, she asks why she can't seem to follow the dictates of her conscious. This song, like several others on Something True, address spiritual as well as earthly themes.  Wonder's song is clearly about the relationship between the singer and a lover. Welling could also be talking about fighting  - and losing - the battle to live a righteous life. Other tunes that could be both secular and inspirational include the opening track, "My Everything," and the aforementioned "One Step Closer."

    It is probably a tribute to Welling's songwriting and vocals as well as Duffie's musical arrangement that there is no mismatch between those songs and the more sensual tracks. The things that are virtues on Kloud 9 records are the strong points on Welling's debut. In all, this is a solid first effort by a singer who benefits from knowing who she is as a singer and working with a producer who appreciated what she brought the table as well. Recommended.

    By Howard Dukes
     
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