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Monday, March 8, 2010

Nikki's brave move with originals

There is hope for original Filipino music yet. Why not, just when I thought I was destined to spend these coming months groaning under the weight of those all covers albums, going Oh no, not another one, and another one, I get welcome news.

Nikki Gil has released a new CD and there is not a single oldie in it. That’s right, all of you out there in despair about the moribund state of Filipino music, here is what you have been waiting for. We can now start wishing that other artists would follow her lead.

The album is Somebody To Love and it is Nikki’s third release. It is a brave move in our time of cover versions and oldies revivals, and she knows it and she’s proud of it. “My new album will mark my contribution to OPM and it has something for everyone.”

Like Nikki’s singing, which goes from pop to soul to hints of jazz, the CD is a mixed bag of styles. What holds the whole thing together is really Nikki and I am glad to say that she has improved tremendously as a vocalist since her first two albums. She now has fuller, deeper tones and although there is really nothing here calling for vocal calisthenics, it is easy to tell that Nikki has also widened her vocal range.

Fan or no fan, you will like what she has done to these songs. And this is made all the more surprising by the all-original line-up. Since Nikki got to the compositions, first hand, she had nobody to copy while recording the songs, so the interpretations here are all her own.

First single out is Somebody To Love which was composed by Nikki’s sister Dani. She also wrote another Nikki single from the second album, Hear My Heart. The ones I like best though are her take on Hale’s Kung Wala Ka, an unlikely choice that worked beautifully; and the duet You Are My Life, which was composed by and features Billy Crawford. There must be something good in what is going on between these two as they really sound great together.

Here are the other songs included and I will list down all the songwriters, who might just be behind the next single from Nikki’s CD. Time And Again by Mark Vincent Manansala; Don’t Break My Heart by Marcus Davis; Bawa’t Hakbang by Divine Gil-Reyes and Dan Gil; Magbabalik Ka Pa Ba? by Arnie Mendaros; I Will Be Loving You by Wency Cornejo; I’ll Be Yours by David Pomeranz, Tammy Hyler and Kurt Howell; Last Love by Jaye Muller and Ben Patton; and I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard.

Watch Nikki perform songs from the album at Robinsons Malls in Manila and Luzon on March 12, Manila; March 13, Metroeast; March 14, Imus; March 26, Galleria; April 9 Lipa; April 10, Pampanga; and April 11, Sta. Rosa.


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