Alex Greene, 2020
Manager-Producer-Promoter of Anissa Lea
Young rising star Anissa Lea recently released her debut album “Anissa Lea” (November, 2020). At age 15 from the Detroit area, Anissa is already generating a sensation in the music industry. She is a very talented female Jazz and R&B singer-songwriter, who has the potential to build a successful musical career in crossover markets.
Anissa Lea’s singing captivates listeners with heartfelt original songs and soulful renditions of popular standards. She has stated that, “I only wish to sing and write songs that resonate with me. A song should move your soul to a place that only music can.” She plans to stay true to herself and always relatable to her fans throughout her musical career.
Her singing has similarities with such musical icons as Peggy Lee, Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, and Etta James. On her debut album, “Anissa Lea”, she sings an eclectic mix of jazz, R&B, and pop standard hits of Peggy Lee, Frankie Valli, Dinah Washington, The Mamas and The Papas, The Shangri-Las, and The Drifters.
Album Review by Eric Harabadian
She’s a little bit blues, a little bit jazz, a little bit pop, and a whole lotta soul! That pretty much sums up Detroit area singer-songwriter Anissa Lea in a nutshell. But then when you realize she’s just 15 years old it definitely stops you in your tracks. That is largely due to her sophisticated musical palette and self-assured vocal style evident on this eponymous debut.
The CD/vinyl release has a rich, classic vibe, from the black and white album cover to the warm analog sound. This girl’s got attitude right out of the gate, with a song popularized by Peggy Lee called “Why Don’t You Do Right.” The “Kansas Joe” McCoy composition is a funky, bluesy cooker, with a jazzy lilt. Lea’s come hither charm hits you like a ton of bricks. And her voice blends so well, with the slithery saxophone of The Motor City Horn’s Keith Kaminski and the drums of co-arranger Rob Emanuel.
Lea summons the spirits of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald for the ballad “Dream a Little Dream.” Her phrasing is uncannily reverent to those aforementioned legends, yet she makes it her own. Dwight Adams’ sweet muted trumpet and the backing vocals of Arie Griggs and Herb Harris add to that vintage feel.
Sonny Burke’s “Black Coffee” is hands down ‘50s/’60s cool. Lea takes some liberties scatting here and there over this swinging samba groove. Sven Anderson’s solo piano and Kaminski’s baritone sax are icing on the cake. And when the young chanteuse wraps up her vocal with the line “my nerves have gone to pieces and my hair is turning gray,” you tend to believe her!
The Shangri-Las’ “Remember Walking in the Sand” gets a jazzy redux, as Lea really wails on this one. There are nice rhythmic transitions from the verses to a swinging chorus. The mid-section features outstanding Latin-influenced solos by trumpeter Justin Garrett Walker and guitarist Jerry Jenson.
Continuing with that ‘60s pop direction The Drifters’ “This Magic Moment” spotlights a light bossa nova groove accompanied by Jenson’s smooth Wes Montgomery/George Benson licks. Lea also knows how to take a rubato vamp section and really run with it.
Dinah Washington’s “What a Difference a Day Makes” is a true show stopper. Lea’s ability to capture the moment and weave her voice in and around the other instruments is uncanny. This tune features strong leads on tenor from Kaminski, with stellar Lambert, Hendricks and Ross styled backing vocals from Harris and Griggs.
Now “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” has been done to death by every lounge act from here to Timbuktu. But Lea and company give the classic Four Seasons’ hit new life. Her voice is effervescent and floats above the fray of a mildly percolating arrangement. The band takes some rhythmic liberties toward the finale which is a nice touch as well.
“Trapped Inside” is the only original tune on the album and it holds its own in the set list. It is written by Lea and her producer/manager Alex J. Greene. It’s a nice slice of soul meets pop, dealing with powerful emotion and personal struggles. There is a timeless Laura Nyro/Carole King component here that hints at hearing much more from this songwriting team.
The final track on the album is unique in that it features outtakes from the recording. Here Lea discusses the origins of each song and her personal journey in discovering and recording them. It’s a fascinating aural log into this young and very gifted artist.
“Anissa is a new singer from Detroit, who is paving her way from the Motor City into the national spotlight with a definitive voice and talent beyond her years.”
– John Jaszcs, seven-time Grammy winning Producer and Mix Engineer
“Anissa’s voice is the most gorgeous voice that I have ever heard, because in essence it captures her heart and soul and in return captures ours.”
– Tom Gelardi, former Promotions at Capitol Records, Disc Recording Institute.
“Anissa’s authentic vocal style and original sound is a rare combination that indicate the talent and immortality of a true hit artist.”
– Alex Greene, six-time Emmy winning Producer, The Greene Group
“Anissa’s voice is big time. Her amazing vocal range embodies the greats from Dinah Washington to Amy Winehouse. And you can’t help but wonder if they are communicating with her. Anissa is a phenomenal talent on her way to the top.”
– Sheldon Kay, former attorney for Aretha Franklin, That Rock &Roll Lawyer Show