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CD REVIEW: Tracy Cruz - Feel'osophy
By Gian F - 12/02/2008 - 08:06 PM EST

Artist: Tracy Cruz
Album: Feel'osophy
Label: Creative Rhythm
Genre: R&B
Sounds Like: Toni Braxton
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Nothing In This World, Blue Eyes, Let Me Sing
Weakness: Lyrical Verbosity
CD Review:

From San Jose, California comes singer/songwriter, Tracy Cruz. Blessed with a sultry, soulful and emotive alto, she delivers a debut project which not only captures and reflects years of vocal and artistic development, but puts her on the map of the Bay Area music scene and on industry radar. Her most commercial track, “ Nothing In This World ,” is easily the best and most complete R&B song that I’ve heard this year; complete as in solid music production, vocals/arrangements, and lyrics. Comparisons to Toni Braxton will be both inevitable and inaccurate; Tracy is the better singer, with greater range and vocal agility as evidenced in this masterpiece.

With organic and superb production by Allen Ross, Tracy’s vocals are illuminated by strong songwriting that covers a wide array of topics which will appeal to both music lovers and music publishers. Though none of the disc’s other songs seem to “breathe” the way that Nothing In This World does, they still manage to earn a unique distinction: they grow on you with each subsequent listen. “Blue Eyes” is not one example, but the example of Tracy’s penchant for melodies that linger in your subconscious and beckon you to sing-along. It’s a catchy tune that can catch on at radio while serving as an interesting conversation piece that revolves around the question: “What’s the song about?”

Other stand-out tracks include the chill-inducing “Let Me Sing,” the up-tempo “Emotional Love,” and “My Valentine,” which has a great premise and a twist: it's about her love for music. It has a great deal of potential for licensing, but maximum usage in the licensing arena would be greatly increased if it were about someone, which would make it more personal and serviceable to the listener a la Martina McBride's My Valentine – an annual Country favorite and a licensing cash cow around Valentine's Day.

I’d be remiss if I did not mention “I Breathe You,” a duet that finds Tracy vocals beautifully matched and complemented by Lonnye Dotson. This song really showcases her vocal agility in transitioning from her chest voice into her head voice while maneuvering from alto to soprano with ease....but the small albeit exaggerated effects on the words "my" are unnecessary and distracting from an otherwise wonderful, serene, and euphonious production.  

Ironically, the only thing that Tracy has to do to take one small step from being really good to great, is to scale back the amount of words she uses in her songs so that they can breathe more – the way that Nothing In This World does. This will grant her voice more time with the notes she sings and the listener more time to enjoy them; thus allowing the productions best instrument (her voice) to be the driving force in her songs. Once she does that, she will truly become a force to be reckoned with.

But make no mistake about it: Tracy’s Feel'osophy is one that the industry will adapt to, and R&B music lovers will applaud.

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Tracy Cruz

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Tracy Cruz sings Jill Scott's "The Way"

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