Primary Instrument: Vocal
On her stunning sophomore album, Tracey Whitney pays joyful homage to a diverse mix of musicians who have inspired her own singing and songwriting. Rounded out by three original tracks, I Am Singing…Songs I Love features the Los Angeles/Albuquerque-based singer’s stirring renditions of classic yet lesser-covered songs by artists like Stevie Wonder, Michael Franks, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. At turns breezy and beautifully moving, the follow-up to 2007’s much-acclaimed Love…A Fable in 9 Acts serves up more of the silky R&B/jazz/pop fusion that’s become the trademark for this former child singing sensation and backup vocalist for the legendary Ray Charles.
The latest release from Tracey’s own BabyDoll Entertainment and Records, I Am Singing…Songs I Love first began taking shape in the midst of a reignited infatuation with “Eli’s Coming” (a Three Dog Night hit authored by Laura Nyro). “I couldn’t get ‘Eli’s Coming’ out of my head, so I ended up heading into the studio and recording my own version to get it out of my system—but then we just kept going,” recalls Whitney. Working with co-producer and multi-instrumentalist Herman “Hollywood” Dawkins, Tracey went on to lay down seven more covers and several original songs that elegantly flaunt her tightly honed harmonic sense.
Though I Am Singing…Songs I Love marks only her second solo album, Whitney’s musical history stretches all the way back to age 11. At the famed Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, Tracey made her debut as part of The Whitney Family (a singing ensemble that included her mother and seven brothers and sisters). Over the next decade, The Whitney Family toured the world and recorded two albums (including “Let Me Be Your Woman,” a Billboard top singles pick). Tracey struck out on her own at age 22, becoming a hit nightclub act in Los Angeles before landing her role as a Raelette in Charles’s 1991 tour of the United States. “After singing with Ray Charles in a five-part-harmony structure, my brain can no longer hear anything in fewer than five parts,” she notes, adding that Charles greatly deepened her understanding of melody. She then spent 5 years performing throughout Japan, and doing session work and concerts with Japanese superstars Sing Like Talking, Tokiko Kato, and Namie Amuro.
But while Whitney’s extraordinary career has played a key role in shaping the smooth sound heard throughout I Am Singing…Songs I Love, her pop instincts, soulful sensibility, and irresistibly natural ease behind the microphone are all essential to the album. Whether reimagining Garth Brooks’ Beatles-esque country pastiche “Wrapped Up In You” as a soaring, scat-laced celebration of love or giving a sweet nod to the Jackson 5 by joining her brother (and fellow former Whitney Family singer) Glynn Whitney on an update of Michael Jackson’s jazzy “I Can’t Help It, ”Tracey pairs her dynamic vocals with refined arrangements to glorious effect. On her original numbers, meanwhile, Whitney introduces innovative elements that let her own singular style shine through: “Heartbreak 2011,” for instance, combines a quietly powerful beat and aching lyrics (“I lost my chance at heaven”) with a heart rending spoken-word intro and outro.
No matter if she’s delivering an original song or a cover, Tracey infuses her songs with a slick sophistication that’s uncommon in today’s musical landscape. “It’s lovely if younger people enjoy my music, but I’m really singing for adults, and telling real stories about real situations,” says Whitney. “What I hope is for people to hear my songs and connect with them on a very emotional level—and ultimately get a sense of calm and joy from that.”
~ Elizabeth Barker
Jazz Syndicate Radio “Soul Sessions with Brian Hobson”, London UK: “The CD, Love...A Fable In 9 Acts has been put on my playlist ... playing: I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby. Wicked Version... Love it.”
Soul Brother Records - London, England: Recommended New Soul TRACEY WHITNEY LOVE...A FABLE IN 9 ACTS Powerful voiced Tracey was formerly one of Ray Charles Raelette's. She makes a good solid soul album, which includes three outstanding tracks; the upper mid tempo foot tapper “Welcome To My Life”, the dancer “I Believe” and the 2-step ballad “A Woman In Love”. Also of note are the mid tempo “Amazing”, the ballads “How Can You Stop Loving Someone” and “Ordinary Fool” and the cover of “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby”... Nice album.
Radio Jazz Plus Montréal, Québec We love your album...1000 x merci for sharing your talent! I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More, How Can You Stop Loving Someone, A Woman In Love and I Believe made it to our playlist. Congratulations!!!! Honoré-- http://www.radiojazzplus.com -- smooth jazz without borders ... in French!
209 Radio UK Soul Discovery with Mick O'Donnell Tracey Whitney “Love A Fable In 9 Acts” - Babydoll Entertainment. A good debut LP for ex Raelette, Tracey Whitney … pretty solid throughout. The killer to these ears is the very Anita Baker sounding A Woman In Love written by Robert Brookins. Good backing vocals and overall feel on this one and the other track Welcome To My Life, excellent mid tempo winner well worth checking out.
Disclaimer: All About Jazz is not responsible for the accuracy of the discographical data at the website(s) provided. If a link is no longer valid, please contact email@example.com. Thank you.