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Monday, June 29, 2009

Review: Estrella Christina - This Is Life

Estrella Cristina - This Is Life
2009, Estrella Cristina

Estrella Cristina is one of those performers who seem born to make music. With classical training in violin, operatic training in voice, and a host of backers with serious music industry credentials, Cristina's ascent in the pop world seems assured. Of course, unless a parent or close relative is an industry mogul, you don't make those sorts of connections without some talent, and Cristina shows no shortage of it on her debut EP, This Is Life. Writing with bassist (and her first guitar teacher) Frank Coglitore (Taylor Dayne, Beth Hart, Marie Digby) and Lane Lenhart, Cristina presents material with distinctive Pop viability while bearing a bit more weight than your usual radio fodder. Cristina's band includes Coglitore; drummer Craig McIntyre (Digby, Josh Groban) and guitarist Kenneth Konnerth (Hilary Duff, Enrique Iglesias).

After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in Textile and Apparel Design, Estrella returned home to Nebraska to pursue music; winning out in an audition process for a spot in J Records quartet VIP (think Destiny's Child). For one reason or another the group never panned out, and Cristina set out to learn guitar with Coglitore. Fast forward to 2009 and Cristina's first recorded work is ready for the marketplace. This Is Life opens with Brighter Than Sunshine, a pop nugget about being alone in a new place and finding someone or something gives your existence meaning in purpose (in this case, music). Non Stop is a pop confection all about finding the perfect guy that should fill out a lot of teenage mix tapes this summer and fall. The lyric content here is a bit light, but the song is sweet in its own right. (Non Stop was featured on Fuse TV's Rad Girls in May). Cristina takes on The Cure's In Between Days in a Pop/Dance version that will likely make hard core Cure fans cringe but is perfect for pop radio recidivism. This Is Life is a bit more mature; a realization that working toward a goal isn't so much about plateaus or moments but successive steps. It's a highly optimistic pop tune that probably wouldn't make it as a single but is definitely not just filler as an album track.

For all of the operatic training, Cristina doesn't present a particular strong or durable voice on This Is Life; she has a pleasant voice, but there are definite holes that show through on the EP and the presence of voice altering software is evident. As a Pop radio artist, Estrella Cristina's This Is Life is a strong start. There is some real talent here and over time I should think she's mature into a decent songwriter on her own. Cristina seems destined to ascend in the Pop world, but whether she has the personality and creative talent to ascend into the realm of artistry will take some time to divine.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Estrella Cristina at or You can purchase a download of This Is Life from iTunes

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