By Ben Ohmart, MusicDish.com
The sultry rhythm that claims the beginning – and hell, the whole song – of the Latin pop song, “Let Him Hear My Heart” may remind you of a Toni Braxton excursion, but it is something more complex. Soul sister Deborah Resto entrances you in a romantic mood that, like a good opium den, does not want to let you go. Smoke gets in your eyes, but so does the choppy syncopation when mixed with its slow dance bewitchment.
If Deborah doesn’t become a major singer, it isn’t from lack of talent or production or eclat. The title song single is as perfect a song for falling in love as anything you’re likely to find on radio today or in historical context. It really is that good. Meanwhile, the album it comes from gives a great overview of her hybrid technique.
When she asks you to dance in “Chevere,” how can you possibly say no to that candy-coated voice? The sweet lilting percussion gives it such a pleasing tropical flavor. You almost expect raindrops to accent the sax and soft keyboard sound. The similar sax of sexy “Moments” tells that this is an album for lovers and no one else. “Lejos” gets wilder, bringing in more of a “typical” Latin sound with heavier brass section and backup vocals, as it mixes samba in a quicker mix. On this one she shows off the strength of her pipes, and proves she’s not just a ballad diva.
Deborah admits, “My album to a virgin ear, I would say, is that there is something in it for everybody. There is something in it for the jazz ear, pop ear, salsa ear and love song-romantic ear.”
That’s an understatement. While she does rely mostly on synthetic backing, the adult contemporary music shows through, most notably on tracks like the Spanish version of “What a Difference a Day Makes,” mainly due to the plethora of influences that surround her. “My current and past influences are varied as well. I believe that as a composer, you have to be open to everything so that your ideas can serve the universe, if at all possible. I have, however, been influenced very much by romantic singers from Streisand to Myrta Silva to Cheo Feliciano, Whitney Houston, artists who mix their sounds such as Sade.”
| More on Deborah Resto
* Genre: Latin Jazz / Soul
* Hometown: New York City
* Website: www.latincool.com/debrah_resto/
* Buy CD “Let Him Hear My Heart”
No two of Resto’s songs have the same sound. “Can I Be the One,” sung in Spanish, is voiced in shadows, enveloped in a slight echo effect that is most charming and heartbreaking. But however you describe the variations, all of Deborah’s hard work pays off.
“The album has been several years in the making,” she says, “It really is a history of a Latina woman struggling with her identity to satisfy record companies who are notorious for needing to pigeon hole you.
“Anytime you don’t fit the norm, it is a struggle. I actually could have fit the category of hip-hop salsa, straight jazz or pop, but I wasn’t feeling the culture side of it. I particularly am not feeling how women are denigrating themselves for attention in the commercial field. I do like the music and the money they are making.”
Right now she is finding herself and her audience. “I am looking forward to touring. Most of the tunes are originals. I try to be real, ninety eight percent of the time, even if it might hurt someone.”
The new disc, on sale at a good price on www.latincool.com, is her #1 objective these days. She’s putting together a solid group of rave reviews while gettin’ her party on. “The CD hasn’t been out long, and has been doing well within this short amount of time. I am a very strong performer. I am very sensitive to what the audience is feeling and don’t sing just to do a job, make some money and get home. I really try to leave having given and experienced a lot of flavor and intimate exchange from la tarima.
“Many of the songs are autobiographical, or paintings of scenes or situations I or friends of mine may have experienced. ‘Chevere‘, for example, has to do with a non-Hispanic guy and a Hispanic woman not speaking each other’s language, but when they kissed the language was well understood.”
What’s in store for tomorrow? “My plans for the future depends, I guess, on how well things go with my recordings. I want to continue writing, recording and painting life through songs. I’d also like to write for other artists as well as theme songs for movies.”
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