Yvette Rovira

Yvette Rovira

Official Biography (courtesy of yvetterovira.com)

It would have been no surprise if Yvette Rovira's musical talents had gone undiscovered. Raised in a family that was more focused on the sciences than the arts - both her mother and only brother are engineers - a career in music might have seemed unlikely. But as is the case with those to whom the artistic muse whispers too loudly to be ignored, Rovira was taking vocal lessons by the time she was eight years old, setting out from there on a path that would lead her from her native Florida to a degree in songwriting from Boston's Berklee School of Music, and eventually to New York City, where she's currently finishing up work on her new CD.

Working with producer Rob Mounsey (Rihanna, Mary J. Blige), and with the same tight family of musicians with whom she's collaborated for the past few years, Rovira has recorded a dozen tracks that are flavored with latin-inspired percussion, and funk and old school R&B references, all sung with a distinctive power and passion.

Rovira shares writing credit on ten of the CD's twelve tracks, a fact made more impressive when she admits that she only learned to read and write music once she'd entered Berklee as a sophomore, after a year majoring in singing at New Orlean's Loyola University. "I knew I wanted to focus more on pop music and songwriting, so Berklee was a natural choice for me. I came away with a great education, of course, but I met most of the guys who are now in my band while I was there as well."

Among those players is the rapper Lex Doe, who adds his distinctive edge to two songs, "City of Lights," which Rovira describes as her "love song to New York City," and "Psychedelia," the singer's take on the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky." A closer listen to the lyrics of that particular song, with its trippy synth lines and multi-layered vocals, brings to light one of most striking aspects of Rovira's songwriting - her lyrics resonate with a positive message, whether she's heading for the dance floor (on the high energy "Let's Go Out Tonight,) or baring her soul (on the pop ballad "Passion," which Rovira says is about her love for music.)

Notes of inspiration and power course through "Everybody Stand Up," which opens with the words of no less a spiritual leader than Mahatmas Gandhi: "Be the change that you want to see in the world," Rovira sings as the song opens. "So often I hear people complain about things but offer no solutions," she explains. "I'm inspired by leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King to be of service, which sometimes can be as simple as stating your opinion in a positive way."

"Give Me Just a Little Bit of Time," which features M.C. Atlas, fuses pop, gospel and hip-hop into a poignant parable with universal appeal. Seemingly at first to be just another song of love and longing, its true message unveils itself with M.C. Atlas' rap: "This story is told through the eyes of a man who's lived 80 something years...holding the hand of his wife who can't stand...watching the love of his life slip away.... " Atlas had just come back to New York after the death of the grandmother who'd raised him. He wrote his verse in reaction to that, directly from his experience," says Rovira. "At some point in our lives, we all experience loss."

All this talk of Rovira's ability as a songwriter should in no way detract from her power as a singer. Her voice pulses and soars on soulful anthems like "Fearless," and rides waves of emotion as her vocals intertwine with guitarist Nicholas Cassarino's on the R&B ballad, "Hold Me."

Only two tracks on the CD were not written by Rovira - "Love Can Find a Way," written by producer Rob Mounsey. and "Don't Let Me Lose This Dream," one of the least well known songs off of Aretha Franklin's 1967Atlantic Records debut I Never Loved A Man the Way I Love You. "When I get into an artist's music, I get a little obsessed, and I listened to this CD over and over," laughs Rovira. "Sure, ‘Respect' and the title track were Top Ten hits, but this song really resonated with me, because it's how I feel about my own dream of being able to pursue a career as a musician."

"Ever since I can remember, music has been the driving force of my life," explains the 26 year old Rovira. "I was very young, but I remember that my dad used to put me to sleep singing and playing guitar." It was the support of her family and a strong network of musical friends, music/acting coaches and musical theater directors that helped the very young Rovira find the resolve to follow her dream of becoming a singer.

"My mom was just a powerhouse," she remembers. "After my dad was gone, she was a single mom raising my brother and me, and working. Then and now, she's my greatest inspiration."

Rovira's musical influences run the gamut, from Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel, to the Beatles and John Mayer, to India Arie. "I tend to listen to a lot of hip-hip, old school R&B and blues," she says, but I also try to expose myself to what's happening now. I've been listening to Robin Thicke, Corrine Bailey Rae, and Jay Z lately."

In addition to working on her own music, Rovira performs with the hip hop band Lifted (several of who are in her own band) recently performing with them for three months in Macau, China....

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