MANILA, Philippines?KC Concepcion?s show biz stock gets another boost with the release of her solo debut album, ?a.K.a. Cassandra,? a sleekly produced potpourri of disparate musical genres that captures the young performer?s multifaceted personality and diverse tastes. Indeed, the lovely young woman is not her Megastar-mother?s daughter for nothing!
In the album?s liner notes, KC acknowledges the source of her many talents by paying tribute to God, who is ?my sweet fix, one addiction and nighttime lullaby.? She shares how proud she is of mom Sharon (?Napakagaling namang magka-Mommy ng tulad mo?) and dad Kiko (?My Superman...pushed me further than I?d ever thought I?d go?)?and reveals her easy relationship with her Papa Gabby (?You sing too pala, although I still believe kay Mama ako nagmana...Hahaha!?).
In her album?s 12-song lineup (including the Raymund Marasigan-penned hidden track, ?Sabihin Mo Na Sana?), KC achieves a cohesive fusion of musical styles in a collection of songs that rely heavily on local contemporary music?s current predilection for acoustic pop-rock, in which Yeng Constantino, Barbie Almalbis and Kitchie Nadal thrive.
The album boasts of impressive contributors like Ryan Cayabyab and Joey Ayala, but the 23-year-old performer works hard to prove that she doesn?t merely coast along on her charismatic image, lovely looks, good connections or sense of entitlement.
The polished vocals in KC?s sassy covers of Marie Fredriksson?s ?It Must Have Been Love? (from the ?Pretty Woman? soundtrack) and Freshlyground?s ?Doo Be Doo? (using Joey de Leon?s Tagalog lyrics) show that she?s got what it takes to follow her popular mother?s musical footsteps!
In Joey Ayala?s ?Agila (Haring Ibon),? the lineup?s most vocally challenging piece, KC?s soaring rendition displays a steely confidence that proves she?s not just another wannabe-singer struggling to stay on the note. In fact, the song?s last part is a vocal showcase for Sharon?s pretty heiress.
Jude Gitamondoc, the composer of Gary Valenciano?s memorable ?In Another Lifetime,? contributes two melodically complex songs that KC nevertheless pulls off beautifully: ?Imposible,? the album?s carrier single, allows her to show off a vocal technique that makes her soar when she hits the high notes. The single, ?An Updated Version of Me,? makes good use of KC?s developing vibrato and a breathy, Sharon-like singing style.
Raymund Marasigan (of The Eraserheads, Cambio and Pedicab) and Myrene Academia (Imago) inject a youthful, dance-techno-punk vibe with ?Breathe??although the former?s ?Sabihin Mo Na Sana? doesn?t live up to expectations. Also, the album could have benefitted from a better front cover?whose dour, black-and-white design shows a hardly recognizable KC as she sings into a microphone.
KC may not possess her mom?s thick-bodied alto and lived-in soulfulness (yet), but she nevertheless acquits herself well by choosing songs that are appropriate for her voice and range, and taking advantage of the services of talented arrangers who bring out her strengths as a singer. ?And, there?s obviously room for improvement!
After all, Sharon?s vocals in ?Tawag ng Pag-ibig? or ?Santo Nińo? when she was just starting out were a far cry from her powerful interpretations of ?Langis at Tubig? and ?Pangarap na Bituin? many years later. KC?s high notes sound lovely?on record, at least?but she needs to work on her middle vocal register.
If pop music fans enjoyed Rihanna, Marie Digby and Mandy Moore?s versions of ?Umbrella? (a recurring tune on her acclaimed ABS-CBN documentary, ?From Paris to ?Pinas?), KC?s sweet revival will also have them humming along. She likewise reworks John Lennon?s ?Imagine? (well-sung, but the sexy, sultry approach seems inappropriate for the song) and two New Wave anthems?with contrasting degrees of success:
The jazzy Latino flavor of Modern English?s sole hit, ?I Melt With You,? is too low-key as an album-opener, but Depeche Mode?s synth-pop classic, ?Just Can?t Get Enough,? still throbs with its new and slower urban black sound.
Our personal pick is Mr. C?s lovely ?Ngiti Lang.? Arranged by Jonathan Ong, this hit-bound tune derives its charm from its simple but catchy melodic beauty and optimistic message: ?Maari ngayo?y todo-buhos ulan/ Pagmasdan, mga ulap ay mag-uurungan/ Ngiti lang, maaayos din ?yan... / Ngunit ?pag natutunan mo nang tanggapin, buhay nati?y sadyang ganyan lang!?