I BELIEVE MY HEART
Classical < < < > > > Pop
Highlights: Ave Maria, All Because of You, The Star in You, I Believe My Heart, My Reason, Vissi d'Arte
I Believe My Heart is the 2004 debut, and so far, only album from British soprano, Keedie. She was discovered by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who heard her singing from another room in London's Groucho Club. He immediately asked her to sing on his promotional single for his upcoming musical The Woman in White and she subsequently found herself signed to EMI. She released the single, 'I Believe My Heart' with pop heart-throb Duncan James (a former member of the boy band Blue) and it went straight to number two in the UK singles chart. This album was launched shortly after.
The album is ultimately a confused one. It lacks cohesion and direction; it conjures up the image of a bunch of headless chickens running around the EMI offices; they have an immensely talented and versatile young singer but they have no idea what to do with her, so they simply give her a bit of everything and then some. The result is a pleasantly eclectic album that unfortunately lacks a definitive audience. Usually, material is adapted to the artist's sound, but that's largely not the case for Keedie as the arrangements force her to adapt to the material; Madonna's 'You'll See' sounds like a text book pop song, and 'O Mio Babbino Caro' is nothing more or less than a straightforward aria. As far as covers are concerned it is only the trance induced 'Vissi d'Arte' and the English pop translation of Bach and Gounod's 'Ave Maria' that offers anything distinctly different.
Despite EMI's "stab in the dark" method of record making there are moments that are spot on. Keedie finds ground and identity in the album's original tracks 'All Because of You', 'The Star in You' and particularly 'My Reason'. She does what she does best in these tracks, infusing her passion for both classical and pop and displaying them in one performance. 'All Because of You' and 'The Star in You' are essentially pop songs, but Keedie elevates them into something special with her technique to slip, switch and slide between her pop and operatic vocals. The song, 'My Reason', features in the film Modigliani starring Andy Garcia and the film's composer, Guy Farley, picked out Keedie personally. It's considered the strongest and most popular of Keedie's entire repertoire, it is a more sombre and serious piece, and demonstrates her emotional delivery in its highest, heart-breaking form.
Keedie is especially gifted with connecting to her material and this is most evident during the arias, and there are seven of them here. Although Keedie shows extraordinary operatic ability, her generous use of vibrato may put off the punters that enjoy her pop songs and her diction is quite weak. Listeners that are more accustomed to the accessible vocal that Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli bring to 'Time To Say Goodbye' may find Keedie's rendition too much to bear, but fans of the operatic vocal will probably rejoice at Keedie's purer take of the standard.
Emma Shapplin's 'Vedi Maria' and John Rutter's 'Pie Jesu' are other notable highlights but the short and sweet 'Interlude', which was co-written by Keedie is also worthy of a nod. The title track, 'I Believe My Heart' is not Andrew Lloyd Webber at his best, but it's an enjoyable song nonetheless. 'You'll See' and Enya's 'Only Time' are nice enough but don't really add anything new to the original versions.
There are no downright disasters on this album, but the execution of the album as a whole could have been dealt with better. Whilst many music lovers would never complain at the prospect of twenty tracks on one album, it does seem clumsy here; Keedie's team clearly didn't know who her market audience were, so they didn't know what to cut and what to keep. The listener's journey is constantly interrupted with bumps and sharp turns. I Believe My Heart doesn't do Keedie the amount of justice she deserves, but it's still a decent album with some excellent ideas. The concept of adding anything and everything does, at least, mean that there is something here for every type of crossover listener, not to mention that Keedie is too talented to pass up.
1. Ave Maria
2. Vedi Maria
3. Pie Jesu
4. All Because of You
5. You'll See
6. Ebben? Ne Andró Lontana
8. The Star In You
9. I Believe My Heart (with Duncan James)
10. Only Time
11. O Mio Babbino Caro
12. Time To Say Goodbye
13. My Reason
15. 'Fio est Toute'
16. Vissi d'Arte
17. One Day/Lascia Ch'io Pianga/Sous Le Dôme Épais/Un Bel Dì Vedremo