Laura Jane - Everything Changes

Laura Jane
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Detroit native Laura Jane may look like an ingénue, with her luminous complexion and mass of coiled hair piled high on her head, but she truly is a woman of the world, having traversed the globe from South America to Japan, both as a soloist and backing singer, working with such luminaries as Taylor Dayne, Jeffrey Osborne, Joss Stone and the late Teena Marie.

Possessing a syrupy yet prevailing voice, reminiscent of eighties songbird Jill Jones, the multi-faceted Jane has created an amalgamation of sound and rhythm making it impossible to pin her down. She seems to effortlessly sashay from one genre to the next. Artistic expression it maybe, but it’s also somewhat disconcerting as Jane possesses, at times, a rich and soulful voice with gospel overtones that is much needed in today’s modern R&B amphitheatre, but only hinted at in her recordings.

Detroit native Laura Jane may look like an ingénue, with her luminous complexion and mass of coiled hair piled high on her head, but she truly is a woman of the world, having traversed the globe from South America to Japan, both as a soloist and backing singer, working with such luminaries as Taylor Dayne, Jeffrey Osborne, Joss Stone and the late Teena Marie.

Possessing a syrupy yet prevailing voice, reminiscent of eighties songbird Jill Jones, the multi-faceted Jane has created an amalgamation of sound and rhythm making it impossible to pin her down. She seems to effortlessly sashay from one genre to the next. Artistic expression it maybe, but it’s also somewhat disconcerting as Jane possesses, at times, a rich and soulful voice with gospel overtones that is much needed in today’s modern R&B amphitheatre, but only hinted at in her recordings.

Adopted into a family of free expression no doubt shaped the artist she is today, as Jane began singing from the age of five, impressing her parents with her operatic crooning. This talent prompted them to enrol her in vocal lessons and the community choir. Studying piano and dance, Jane made inroads into the children’s choir of the OPERA GRAND RAPIDS, performing in productions of Carmen and Tosca, before studying at The Boston Conservatory of Music earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts.

On the release of her critically acclaimed debut album, To My Planet Boo, in 2005, Jane received international exposure due to the album’s interesting incorporation of everything from world music to drum ‘n’ bass, especially with the jazzy-imbued “Summertime In the City.” But she has been far from quiescent in the last six years, having contributed her voice to the soundtrack of the 2010 film, Letters to Julia, accompanying singer Enrique Iglesias on several world tours as a featured vocalist in his live shows, performing duets recorded by the likes of Whitney Houston, and furthermore releasing last year’s EP, Have You Met Miss Jones.

Everything Changes, her latest offering, in which she had a hand in writing and producing, continues her liberal approach to music that one can’t help applaud, even if she only dips her voice into the soulful on occasion.

The ethereal and incommodious opener, “The Answer,” featuring Iglesias confrere and renowned Brazilian Percussionist Gilmar Gomes, integrates a concerto of manifold voices performed by Jane, bringing to mind Jill Jones’s  ardent couplet, “Violet Blue,” but the relentless and chugging percussion arrangement by Gomes feel out of place with the song’s mantra of love message. Arguably, “The Letter” brings out the saccharine quality of her voice, however it would have worked better without the cloying violin arrangement that permeates the otherwise affecting sentiment she conveys.

Far better is the expectant “Try A Little Love,” which bears all the hallmarks of a big pop hit, as well as the cocktail jazz meets soulful house-like anthem, “Lift Me Up,” featuring Groovy Arythmetics. Theses tracks illuminate Jane’s ability to be a diverse and dynamic singer, creating a vocal wall of sound that is most appealing.

The indubitable highlight, however, is the sparkling and scintillating “My Confession.” With honeyed R&B phrasing, Jane swoops and soars, yelping with operatic fervor, pumped up by a puissant group of female gospel vocals and creating a potent brew of heady R&B that is most addictive.

There is no doubting Laura Jane’s artistic skill and musicianship and, if she so chooses to make a complete R&B album filled with soulful and gospel overtones in the future, then it will surely put her miles in front of some of generic female music releases currently dominating the charts. Cautiously Recommended

By Garry Moran

 
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