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March 26, 1997
Ambitious Gina G Makes Moves for the Top of the Pops
 
gina g-photo from back of CD booklet Gina G, Fresh (Warner 1997) - Britain's newest "next big thing" is Gina G, a talented and beautiful lass from Australia. With her hit single "Ooh Aah...Just a Little Bit," Fresh has what it takes to make a hit -- good lyrics and a great melody, a solid hook and a beat that just keeps on going.

The 25-year-old Gina G has been making music since she was as a teenager. After working as a DJ at various clubs around Melbourne, Gina joined a dance music ensemble called Bass Culture. While Bass Culture enjoyed a modest hit with the single, "Love the Life," Gina wanted more. So in 1994, she relocated to the United Kingdom, where the seeds of Fresh were soon sewn.

After laying down a demo, Gina hooked up with British producer Steve Rodway (best known for his work with Motiv 8), who liked what he heard. And the rest, as they say, is history. "Ooh Aah...Just a Little Bit" skyrocketed last year to #1 on the British charts, remaining in 1996's top five for more than two months.

Fresh is a delightful mix of dance and pop: the kind of perky upbeat music that makes you want to shake your booty. From the hit single to such songs as "Rhythm of My Life" and "Follow the Light," Gina G knows how to get around a dance groove. Enjoy a big serving of Fresh.

amber-this is your night Amber, This is Your Night (Tommy Boy 1997) - Danish vocalist Amber has enjoyed remarkable success with her hit single, "This is Your Night." With the release of her first LP, Amber hopes to continue her luck.

Amber comes by her vocal skills naturally: Her father is an opera singer and her mother teaches piano. As a child in Holland, Amber was encouraged to express herself musically. Says Amber, "I grew up with classical, and I guess that's why I gravitated to the opposite end of the musical spectrum -- to provoke my parents!"

In 1992, Amber met the then-unknown Frank and Christian Berman. After laying down some tracks, the Bermans disappeared for 18 months. Amber, naturally, was disappointed.

But then the Bermans resurfaced, buoyed by their success with Real McCoy. After being assured that the Bermans were committed to her, Amber returned to the studio to record This is Your Night. Says Amber, "We fell right back into our energy pattern, and the songs just flew out of us. It's really about having fun. I have made a very optimistic album, and it reflects my personality."

In addition to the hit single "This is Your Night" (which was number one last year in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, and Miami), the album also features new cuts like "Colour of Love" and "Hold My Body Tight."

Amber has the Euro-pop-disco sound that propelled Lisa Stansfield into the stratosphere. Dance fans will groove to This is Your Night.

 
all that-various artists-the album Various artists, All That: The Album (RCA 1997) - During the last two years, the TV show "All That" (seen each weekend on Nickelodeon) has developed into a sort of "Saturday Night Live Jr.", while also establishing itself as the premiere outlet on TV for live hip-hop and R&B performances.

Aimed at the 6-to-15 age group, The Album is a rap and soul compilation that's both teen-pleasing and parent friendly. The Album features 11 musical selections, together with ten interludes and skits by favorite characters on "All That." The Album featuring two songs by Immature, including the hit "Watch Me Do My Own Thing," Brandy's version of "Baby," and "You Used to Love Me" by Faith Evans. Also featured are the "All That" theme song by TLC, as well as songs by Aaliyah and Coolio.

Geared towards the younger set, All That: The Album (which is a compilation of songs from last season's shows) will please young fans of urban and R&B.
 

donna lewis Donna Lewis, Now in a Minute (Atlantic 1996) - Now in a Minute is the debut album from Welsh singer Donna Lewis. Standing astride the pop and dance worlds, while buoyed by a background in classical composition, Now in a Minute has a catchy, engaging charm.

Lewis has been making music for years, and counts Elton John and Rickie Lee Jones as early influences. Lewis majored in piano and flute at the Welsh College of Music and Drama; after graduation, she turned professional and began playing in cover bands throughout the U.K. and Germany.

Donna eventually moved to Birmingham, England, where she assembled a simple home studio -- a four track, a DX7 keyboard, drum machine, and a microphone -- and began recording her songs. In addition, she played gigs around the Birmingham area, attracting attention from booking agencies, which led to a long series of stints in European piano bars.

Of that period, Lewis says "I really feel that I matured a lot as a performer. I stayed away from the standard piano bar repertoire. I liked to cover more obscure tracks from some of my favorite artists, like Prince, Rickie Lee Jones, Kate Bush and Van Morrison, while also performing a number of my own songs."

While it took several years to commit Now in a Minute to vinyl, the wait was worth it. "Now in a Minute" takes it's title from an everyday scene in Donna's Welsh homeland. "There's really no hidden meaning behind the title," she explains. "It's just a simple expression meaning, 'I'll be right there.'"

In addition to such tracks as "Lights of Life" and "Nothing Ever Changes," the highlight of the album is the hit single, "I Love You Always Forever." The disc features two versions of this track: the studio mix (produced by Kevin Killen) and the "Philly Remix" featuring the Cosmic Lounge Brass Ensemble on horns.

Now in a Minute is a fair showcase for this talented and determined young woman.

-- Randy Krbechek
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