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Monday, October 22, 2007

Kyla joins the oldies brigade

The saying that if you can’t beat them, then you might as well join them, must have been what led Kyla to the decision to record old songs for Heartfelt, her sixth album. With big names like Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, Babyface and even Jay Durias all embarked on the oldies brigade, the only way to compete is to join the party. But it is not as easy as that. It may seem so because the songs already exist and all one has to do is choose, but then it also means doing better or maybe just as well as the originals. How on earth do you top Patti Labelle?

Another requisite is that an artist has to earn the privilege of singing the much-loved songs. “Earn your spurs,” the fans seem to say all the time. “Prove yourself a true artist then we will listen to you.” Now Kyla has released the albums Way to Your Heart, Kyla, I Will Be There, Not Your Ordinary Girl and Beautiful Days over the past seven years. To her credit, she made it to the top on the strength of Filipino originals like the much-awarded Hanggang Ngayon. So maybe she has by this time, indeed, earned the right to record her own interpretation of timeless favorites.

It was not easy finding the right songs. To find out how listeners felt about the idea, Kyla did gigs and took requests from the audience. From these, she ended up with a list of 400 songs and from there, she chose the most requested, Patti Labelle’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow, probably because of its birit portion; then the ones she liked best, For You by Kenny Lattimore, which she dedicates to her boyfriend; and finally the ones that suited her style, If I Were You by Tamia, which is light pop spiced with R ’n B.

The 16 songs that topped the list made it to the studio for Heartfelt. They come with simple and easy arrangements that are so nice on the ears. Come to think of it, nothing jars in the album, which flows neatly from one cut to another. And there are even a few surprises. Who would have thought that something like Last Chance by the underrated Allure would make the cut. Nice choice.

It is not the first single, what you will hear on the radio is Taylor Dayne’s Love Will Lead You Back, but the song I like most in the album is Brian McKnight’s Home, which Kyla does very well. This girl has R ’n B in her system and all those sweet undulating notes just seem to come naturally with so much charm. Last Chance also has the makings of a hit single, although I really prefer that listeners take this album as a complete package and not on the strength of a song or two.

The other songs included are: I Don’t Want You to Go, I Don’t Have the Heart, Broken Hearted, I Miss You So Much, Always and Forever, Someone, the only new work, Wait for You which was composed for American Idol finalist Elliot Yamin, One Day In Your Life and With this Tear. The only Filipino composition included is It’s Over Now by Louie Ocampo, which was originally recorded by Joey Albert. [source of news]

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