Courtesy: Caroline Records
At only 19 years old, Canadian-born singer Nikki Yanofsky has already recorded and released three full length albums and gained a fan base from around the world. So it goes without saying that by and large Yanofsky, who has worked with big names including: will.i.am, Herbie Hancock, Phil Ramone, and Elton John just to name a few, is anything but a secret to audiences. This summer, Yanofsky released her aptly titled fourth full-length studio effort Little Secret. The little secret revealed in this record is that Yanofsky isn’t just a jazz singer. Just as Norah Jones eventually branched out, so has Yanofsky. And just as Jones’ fans became divided when she started branching out, so have Yanofsky’s, too. Fans have either gotten totally on board with this record or they have completely disavowed it. Those fans that disavowed Little Secret have obviously failed to see…er…hear that she has not abandoned her jazz roots on this record. Rather, she has taken those roots and shown her ability to grow as an artist while maintaining them. That is evident more than once throughout the course of this album’s dozen tracks. One of the songs that proves this is her take on David Houston’s 1967 hit single ‘You Mean The World To Me.’ There is also a retooled version of the jazz standard ‘Jeepers Creepers’ simply titled ‘Jeepers Creepers 2.0’ that audiences should take into account. Whether for the re-tooled take on ‘Jeepers Creepers’ or her take of ‘You Mean The World To Me,’ audiences that give this record a chance will hear and agree that Yanofsky hasn’t lost her jazz roots. At the same time, they will also agree that she has grown and branched out. That is evidenced both in the album’s fittingly titled opener ‘Something New’ and its closer ‘Kaboom Pow.’ These songs by themselves prove that Yanofsky has not forgotten her roots but rather taken them and grown with them. And together with the album’s remaining songs not noted here, audiences new and old alike will agree that Little Secret is deserving of far more credit than some have given it.
Little Secret has proven to be quite the divisive record among Nikki Yanofsky’s fan base. There has been no gray area with this record. Audiences have either hated it, claiming that Yanofsky has essentially sold out and forgotten her jazz roots or they have loved it noting her growth. This critic chooses to take the side of those noting her positive growth. Yanofsky shows on this record that she hasn’t forgotten her jazz roots. She has merely taken them and grown with them. One example of that display comes in her rendition of the jazz classic ‘You Mean The World To Me.’ This song is a wonderful and beautiful break from the album’s more pop-centered songs. It is a slow, gentle song perfect for a romantic moment with yanofsky singing, “I think about you all the time/I think about how you’re all mine/How only I can hold your hand/And you’re the one I call my man/And you mean the world to me/Everytime I feel your touch/Boy it gives me such a rush/And every time you stroke my hair/It sends shivers everywhere/I think about you and your smile/I think about the longest smile/Then I would run to get to you/I know that you would do that, too/Cause you mean the world to me.” The gentle strains of the piano and laid back beats make the song even more enjoyable. Regardless of the occasion, this is a great song for that special, romantic moment. And it is one piece of evidence in the argument that Yanofsky hasn’t lost her jazz roots on this album.
Yanofsky’s take one ‘You Mean The World To Me’ is solid evidence that she has not lost her jazz roots on this, her latest full-length studio effort. Those perhaps not yet convinced need look no farther than her updated take on the jazz standard ‘Jeepers Creepers’ for even more proof that she has not lost her roots, but used them to grow as a performer. ‘Jeepers Creepers 2.0’ takes the jazz standard and brings it into the 21st century with her take of the song here. She sings alongside jazz legend Louis Armstrong who popularized the original Harry Warren/Johnny Mercer tune in this rendition. The pairing of the old and new is enhanced even more with the placement of some decidedly poppy beats over the whole thing. The end result is one more song proving how much Nikki Yanofsky has grown on this record. It’s also one more of the album’s songs that proves why Little Secret is a great candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new pop albums.
Despite what so many would like to believe, Nikki Yanofsky proves more than once on her latest full-length studio release that she has not lost her jazz roots. Rather she has shown how much she has grown on this album. That is evident in both of the already noted songs. While she proves that she has not forgotten her jazz roots, she also proves just how much she has grown as an artist and branched out as she has gotten older and more experienced with her craft. She proves this just as much as she proves her continued connection to her jazz roots. One of the best examples of that growth comes in the form of the album’s aptly titled opener ‘Something New.’ This song is right up there with songs from so many of Yanofsky’s bigger name counterparts that currently run on the nation’s biggest radio stations. Audiences that give this song a chance will recognize a very familiar sample used as the song’s backbone. It is the same sample used as a music bed in actor Mike Meyers’ hit Austin Powers movies. The album’s closer ‘Kaboom Pow’ is just as aptly titled. That’s because it closes out this surprisingly impressive album with a bang. As with the album’s opener, it is catchy enough that it could easily hold its own against any major song playing across America’s major Top 40 station’s today. Yanofsky’s vocal abilities are incredible to say the least, especially when she hits the high notes in this song. It is truly something that must be heard to be fully appreciated. Those talents, the talent exhibited in the album’s opener, and that of her jazz renditions show collectively a solid balance of Yanofsky’s past, present and future. They prove together that she has not lost her roots nor has she forgotten them. She has simply taken those roots and grown with them and released an album that is far more worthy of praise than some would seem to believe.
Nikki Yanofsky proves with Little Secret that she is more than just a jazz singer. She is a multi-talented vocalist that could go any direction that she wants in her future releases. Regardless of the direction that she chooses or the support (or lack thereof) that she gets from America’s Top 40 stations, this record has proven that the secret is out. Nikki Yanofsky is one of the best young vocalists in American music today. Audiences that give Little Secret a chance will agree with that sentiment, too. Yanofsky is currently touring in support of Little Secret. Audiences can check out her latest tour schedule online now and keep up with her latest news updates online at:
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