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Muse's Muse Reviews by Gian Fiero - Best CD Projects Category - 2006
By Gian F - 05/22/2007 - 12:47 PM EDT

Gian Fiero's Best CD Projects Award

The top award for Best CD Project of 2006 goes to...
Best CD Project: "Music Train" - Vinny Blessed

Vinny Blessed, a rapper and native of the Bronx, now living in Brooklyn, sent me a project describing his style as: "Spanglish/Hip-Hop, combined with catchy hooks and sharp lyrics." Track after track he brings the heat like a deranged arsonist; torching competitiors from East to West with pumping beats and tight rhymes that will make Jay Z reconsider his retirement...who actually did on November 27th, 2006.

Read his review

Best Rock CD - Female:

Dasha's Review"It's Just A Number" - Dasha

Dasha's writing talent is immense and her potential for industry success is enormous...she is simply on another level. Both the music and publishing industries willl strike gold when they get their hands on her catalogue. Congratulations on completing a project that is commercially strong, artistically developed, and musically sound.

Read her review

Best Rock CD By A Duo, Group or Band:

Broken Stone's Review"Life After You" - Broken Stone

Because this is a first rate "performing" band that puts their heart, soul and talent into every song, their potential for commercial success lies within their ability to expand their fan base with their undeniable brand of energetically hypnotizing Rock...this is a strong and complete package that Rock fans and industry professionals will want a piece of.

Read their review

Best Adult Alternative CD - Female:

Alice Peacock's Review"Who I Am" - Alice Peacock

Alice Peacock, a singer/songwriter/musician from White Bear Lake, Minnesota, via LA, sent me such a project which proves that you can master the craft of songwriting through osmosis if you you are fed a steady diet consisting of the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carole King, and Carly Simon as a child.

Read her review

Best Adult Contemporary CD - Female:

Melissa Forbes' Review"No More Mondays"
- Melissa Forbes

Melissa's debut CD showcases musically fluid tracks that are defined by her technically precise vocals and high production values...from beginning to end this project stimulates your ears, thoughts, and emotions while smoothly blending Jazz and R&B into a genre that Melissa can call her own.

Read her review

Best Country CD - Male:

Daniel Smith's Review"American Made" - Daniel Smith

Standing at 6 feet 5 inches in height is not what puts Daniel Smith head and shoulders above the rest of aspiring Country artists, it's the songwriting talent and genuine American Made qualities that he embodies as a man that distinguish him.

Read his review

Best Gospel CD - Female:

Coko's Review"Grateful" - Coko

When reviewing one of the finest and most distinctive female voices in the industry, who happens to front SWV (one of my favorite female vocal trios), it's only natural to assume that I would have a bias. What I also had when I received this project was a perception of Coko as an R&B diva; that perception - along with its limitations - were quickly shattered.

Read her review

Best Pop Rock CD:

Fine Lines' Review"Extended Play" - Fine Lines

This band knows how to write commercial music, but they have an advantage over their competitors which is the one little thing that prove to be a big difference: a lead vocalist with a magnetic voice that draws you in and makes it difficult to pull yourself away.

Read their review

Best R&B CD - Male:

Brandon Hines' Review"Love Music...Falling In, Falling Out" ­ Brandon Hines

Brandon Hines, a singer/songwriter and student of Howard University, sent me an intriguing project for review that aptly showcases his vocal style, range, and power...armed with an emotive tenor and a penchant for retro R&B, Brandon embarks on a mission to revive soul music as a genre and an art.

Read his review

Best Rap CD - Male:

Tony Vic's Review"The Vic[s]Tor[y]: Testimonial Music" - Tony Vic

Tony Vic makes a grand entrance onto the commercial hip-hop scene with panache. His debut project articulates the Vic story with power, eloquence and detail that will strengthen allegiance from existing fans, and gain him new ones in the process.

Read his review

Best Reggaeton CD - Female:

Ms. Trinity's Review"Ragga Hop"- Ms.Trinity

While Ms. Trinity may have a cosmopolitan background and international music influences, she shrewdly and strategically included songs on this project that are designed to appease the rigid formatting of U.S. radio without compromising or diluting her identity.

Read her review

Best Jazz Instrumental CD:

The Riverton Project's Review"The Rivington Project"
- The Rivington Project With Don Broaden

Turning in what they describe as a musical gumbo of Jazz, Rock, Funk, and experimental music, these New York based musicians consistently display superlative composition skills and a myriad of influences that mesh together and comprise a solid project that can be enjoyed from start to finish.

Read their review

Best Easy Listening CD:

The Flying Club's Review"Far And Away" - The Flying Club

Unlike so many easy listening projects that tend to take a detour to keep you awake, Bruce Popky, Luiz Coutinho, Amanda Walker, and producer Mark Hallman stay on course; never disrupting the tranquil ride that it was intended to be, by skillfully keeping you stimulated.

Read their review

Best Dance CD:

Shakti's Review"Shakti" - Shakti

With songs that are sexy and provocative in both production and content, her knack for conjuring up sensual imagery is undeniable...she has pursued various dance styles like Bharthanatyam (Classical Indian dance), Hip-Hop and Belly Dance at the Egyptian Academy of Oriental Dance.

Read her review

Best Rock CD - Male:

Jake Stigers' Review"No Vacancy" - Jake Stigers

From the Big Apple comes Jake Stiggers, a singer/songwriter and a two-time ASCAP Plus Award Winner, who skillfully incorportates Pop elements into his edgy brand of Rock to create a commercially appealing sound.

Read his review

Best Alternative Rock CD - Female:

Tracey Amos' Review"Who Are We Really?"
- Tracey Amos

Unlike other female artist/male producer combos in which the female artist is a mere puppet, Tracey pulls her own strings and marches to the beat of her own drummer, showcasing superlative songwriting talent and a strong commercial brand identity in the process.

Read her review

Best Adult Alternative CD - Male:

Scott Beckman's Review"Somebody Else" - Scott Beckman

From Stratford, Ontario Canada comes Scott Beckman, a singer/songwriter/musician whose debut CD of piano based, Rock/Pop repertoire showcases his talent for writing well-structured commercial songs that are easily reminiscent of Billy Joel or Elton John.

Read his review

Best Adult Contemporary CD - Male:

John Ryan's Review"Words Alone" - John Ryan

For every adult over 35 who has wondered, "What ever happened to real music that rivals the quality of the songs you grew up with?" The search is over - especially if you share my affection for the work of Burt Bacharach or happen to be a fan of melody and orchestration a la The Carpenters.

Read his review

Best Gospel CD - Male:

Amar Khalil's Review"Where There's A Will There's A Way" - Amar Khalil

His inspirational lyrical content and skilled vocal arrangements are perfectly framed by the top-notch production of the venerable Jamie Hawkins who enlisted the backing vocals of rising Gospel star, Sunny Hawkins, to create a commercially viable and spiritually based project which will appeal to the R&B crowd and radio program directors alike.

Read his review

Best Gospel CD By A Duo, Group or Band:

Take 6's Review"Feels Good" - Take 6

If you are not familiar with Take 6, you should know that where most groups end in terms of fine tuning their vocals, Take 6 begins. Their precision and prowess in crafting layered harmonies and intricate vocal arrangements make them the creme de la creme of vocal groups.

Read their review

Best R&B CD - Female:

Laura Jane's Review"To My Planet, Boo" - Laura Jane

Laura Jane has worked with numerous stars including Enrique Iglesias; Kelly Clarkson; Teena Marie; Aaliyah; Monica; Jessica Simpson; and Anastacia. So what type of project should you expect from an artist with this profile and depth of experience? One of quality and an eclectic theme.

Read her review

Best R&B CD By A Duo, Group or Band:

South Border's Review"South Border" - South Border

Well, as the saying goes, "Where there's smoke, there's fire!" Hopefully I can fan the flame for the rest of my industry peers to see them. We have all been bracing for the "Asian invasion" for quite some time and South Border is just the group to bring it in...

Read their review

Best Rap CD By A Duo, Group or Band:

YMP's Review"Trapper Of The Year" - YMP

Their strong southern influence comes through in their style, production and delivery, but industry insiders will take note of their strong commercial appeal which shines like a beam of light in the dark...track after track they display a keen awareness of what's hot in the street, on the charts, and the radio airwaves.

Read their review

Best Reggaeton CD - Male:

Vinny Blessed's Review"Music Train" - Vinny Blessed

Vinny Blessed, a rapper and native of the Bronx, now living in Brooklyn, sent me a project describing his style as: "Spanglish/Hip-Hop, combined with catchy hooks and sharp lyrics." Track after track he brings the heat like a deranged arsonist; torching competitiors from East to West with pumping beats and tight rhymes that will make Jay Z reconsider his retirement...who actually did on November 27th, 2006.

Read his review

Best Jazz Vocal CD:

Helen Slater's Review"Crossword" - Helen Slater

The vocals on this project are not what's featured; it's her songs and songwriting which offer a multiplicity of licensing options that can be easily adapted for plays and Broadway shows - which are venues that these tunes can thrive in.

Read her review

Best Electronica CD:

1L's Review"Botbox" - 1L

It's the catchiness (and lyrical craziness) of songs like "Karate (All Over Your Body)" and the loosely Prince inspired "Physical" that cover the full spectrum of their talents and speak to their ability to compose a radio-friendly song - even though it's electronica.

Read their review

Best Comedy CD:

Eric Schwartz's Review"Wimp Pimp" - Eric Schwartz

Luckily for many hip-hop acts, Eric Schwartz, a.k.a. Smooth-E, is content to stick to comedic rap. Should he ever change his mind and rap seriously, he would still be the one laughing all the way to the bank, whether as a wimp, or a pimp. It's his choice.

Read his review

Click here for a list of Gian's 2006 Muse's Muse Award Winners For Best Songs

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