Gina Scipione,
(self-produced, 2002)

Gina Scipione is a singer-songwriter with great promise, if she's able to discipline her talent and structure it. There are signs that she's on the right path in her six-song self-produced release Destino.

Her voice, strong and emotional, rings out confidently from the first notes. Clearly a singer who loves to sing, Scipione is most at home in the high soprano range and in high-intensity, emotional compositions. At their best, her vocals have an urgent quality that lift up the listener. Unfortunately, at other times her voice can seem a bit strident, almost too much of a good thing.

It would be interesting to put a talent like Scipione's into the hands of a very experienced producer -- even for a few pricey hours -- who might suggest interesting new directions for her. For a start, I'd love to hear her sing very quietly and very slowly, and to sing a really fine song by an experienced writer such as Beth Neilson Chapman. Also, it would be great to hear her dip into her lower register more often, as she does to pleasing effect on one of the CD's strongest songs, "Independence Day."

The best aspect of Scipione's songwriting right now is her honesty and enthusiasm. But creative energy can be hard to rein in. Frequently, her lyrics seem to exceed the boundaries of the musical phrase, making the songs sound crowded and over-reaching. Even songs that appear at first to conform to standard structure ("Winter," "Take Me to Freedom") depart significantly at times, in verses or b-sections that seem to meander off-course before they find their way back to centre.

This stream-of-consciousness style of writing can lead to good honest songs ... but generally I've noticed that the more experienced the writer, the more they're able to edit. As Scipione keeps developing her talent, she'll naturally find herself writing tighter and more focused songs which will enable her beautiful voice to reach a wider audience.

Her piano playing is lovely and appropriate, and the relatively simple production is fleshed out with bass (Billy "Bass" Martin) and drums (Tony Flagiello). The cover of the CD is very eye-catching.

Destino marks the place where Gina Scipione is right now in her artistic journey. She's courageous and wise to share it with the world. Like virtually every debut CD, it has its shortcomings ... but those can also be signposts by which we guide the journey.

[ by Joy McKay ]
Rambles: 26 October 2002