Dynamic Roots Music Singer/Songwriter
Gina Sicilia Readies New CD, It Wasn’t Real, for Release April 30 on VizzTone Label Group
New Album Produced by Grammy-Winner Glenn Barratt
PHILADELPHIA, PA - Dynamic roots music singer/songwriter Gina Sicilia announces an April 30 release date for It Wasn’t Real, her new CD on the VizzTone Label Group, which promises to expand her burgeoning career as one of the most creative, exciting and diverse artists in the genre today.
Produced by Grammy-winner Glenn Barrett, It Wasn’t Real was recorded at Morningstar Studios in Gina’s hometown of Philadelphia, and features the singer backed by a cadre of local all-star session players who bring a soulful intensity that matches Sicilia’s emotionally-charged vocals.
The new album’s nine original songs showcase Gina’s growth as a songwriter who can deal with universal themes of love and fate, but is able to inject a personal deep-felt longing throughout with her commanding vocal style. The lone cover is a scintillating re-working of the great Etta James’ 1961 hit, “Don’t Cry Baby.”
“These songs mean a lot to me,” Gina says. “My goal is to write in a way that’s observant and soulful, and to get at the pleasures and the pressures of love, joy, family, responsibility…all the complexities that are part of living. And with Glenn’s help and the support of the great band he put together, I think I’ve made my best album.”
Considered a true rising star in the blues world ever since her debut album, Allow Me to Confess, brought her world-wide acclaim in 2007, Gina manages to raise the bar even further with It Wasn’t Real, throwing down a music gauntlet of soul, power, grit and energy for others to follow. Her songs and performances gracefully cross genres on the new album, too, with echoes of soul, rock and even Americana woven throughout the tapestry of sound she’s created on the new disc, bringing Gina’s music to an even wider audience.
“Even though I’m mostly known in the blues world, I love and I’ve absorbed all kinds of music — R&B, country, doo-wop, jazz, soul, pop and blues. So when I get inspired to write a song, it’s likely to go anywhere and even combine those styles,” Sicilia explains. Threads of those genres can also be heard in her previous three albums, including 2008’s Hey Sugar and 2011’s Can’t Control Myself, which were all produced by Sicilia’s bandleader and guitarist Dave Gross.
“Working with Glenn took me out of the comfort zone Dave and I have together, and that made me a little nervous and forced me to push myself,” Sicilia recalls. “That gave me the edge and the encouragement I needed to explore the entire breadth of my vocal range, which I think people get to hear for the first time on this album.”
Gina Sicilia got her first true taste of performing in front of an audience at age 19 during the weekly jams held at Philadelphia blues and jazz club, Warmdaddy’s, beginning in 2005. She’d already acquired her eclectic musical taste from her parents, who played all kinds of music on their home stereo, including pop tunes from her father’s native Italy. But after she ordered a packaged-for-TV compilation album called Solid Gold Soul that featured Bobby Bland, Etta James, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and others, she become hooked on old-school soul, blues and R&B.
She had planned a career in journalism despite the encouragement of her musical mentor, Russell Faith, an important local composer and musician who’d written songs for Frank Sinatra. His death in 2004 galvanized Sicilia into action. “I started taking the subway by myself to the jams at Warmdaddy’s,” she says. “From the first time I got the courage to go onstage, the musicians there encouraged me.”
It was at the Warmdaddy’s jams that Gina met Dave Gross, and soon thereafter they started dating and performing together. Gross encouraged her to record, and Allow Me to Confess was released just after Sicilia graduated from Temple University and was free to begin touring. The album was soon picked up for distribution by the VizzTone Label Group and Sicilia rapidly signed with a national roots music booking agency.
“I see myself as always evolving, reaching for a new place where I want my music to be and a way I want it to sound,” she proclaims. “I don’t know if I’ll find that place, but I’ll never stop searching.”
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