Alina Smith - Alina Smith [EP]
2011, Alina Smith
2011, Alina Smith
Cinderella’s got nothing on Alina Smith. Smith, who flew out of her native St. Petersburg, Russia on the strength of her amazing voice, is on the verge of stardom. Smith found her way into a choir touring Europe, as a nine year old soloist. Next came L.A., where Smith has won a host of awards for songwriting and performance. Smith penned the song “Fallin’ 4 U”, chosen by Sony to be the debut single for artist Aisha. Smith has also been featured on a Michael Jackson tribute CD released in Japan. Stateside, Smith has built a significant following on the West Coast, and in New York City, where she has played regularly at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar. Smith’s self-titled debut EP is all you could hope for in a pop album: Intelligent lyrics, universal themes, great melodies, and the sort of choruses that stick to the inside of your head for days.
Alina Smith opens with "Kissing Tree (Boom Boom)", a deliciously infectious pop song with folk and country undercurrents. It's a highly enjoyable number that's danceable and finds smith sounding like an eclectic cross between Macy Gray and Trisha Yearwood. Smith's voice has a distinctive tonal and quality that is memorable and highly listenable. "Hanging In The Rain" is a relationship retrospective full of artful imagery; a pop/country ballad with a soulful vocal line that speaks to the changes heartbreak can bring. "Top Down" goes the pop route, but blends in country, soul and Celtic influences. Smith is on the verge of something here, both in the song lyrics and as an artist. She feels it and can't contain her delight. That energy flows out of the album and to listeners even through recorded media. "Lady Tonight" is a soulful and mature imitation to love, and to treat the narrator as she deserves to be treated. The song has a great, pure melody, and Smith sings her heart out on it. Smith closes with "Catch A Moment With You", a sweet, Adult-Contemporary pop ballad that's subtly commercial.
Alina Smith is the real deal, a pop artist with a host of influences from outside of pop music who sings with a maturity and class that distances her from the reality TV mindset of popular culture. Heavy vocal effects are apparent at times throughout the EP, although it's unclear whether this is purely a production decision or whether it’s to smooth out Alina Smith's sound. If it's the former, then Smith has a fine voice you could listen to all day. Alina Smith is a fine introduction to a young artist who should be making albums for a long time to come.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)