WE L♥VE Series
While I’m Awake… I am sometimes sad, or puzzled or perky. Sometimes it’s peaceful and other times a big rush of adrenaline is released.
Subway Silence (2008)
*I Proud To Recommended!!!*
This fine debut album from Amsterdam based singer-songwriter Giovanca Ostiana has been a long time coming as the lady who also just happens to be an actress, fashion model and MTV presenter has been too busy! Still, it has been well worth the wait. Around since March in Europe this is a stunning debut of fresh, feel good soulful and jazzy tunes.
Produced by blue-eyed soul boy Benny Sings and released on the strong dutch independent Dox record label the whole album is full of tunes that have huge hit potential if it wasn't for the fact that they ooze class out of every note. On the slow and instantly catchy ballad 'Melancholic You' Giovanca sounds very much like Minnie Ripperton in both voice, phrasing and production and to prove that this is not a fluke the fullness of her voice becomes even more like Ripperton in the following track the delightful 'Pure Bliss'.
The ability to create songs of this quality which also have the knack of being instantly memorable is extremely rare and is enhanced by the new beats and samples of producer Benny Sings. The uptempo tracks are just as good. There is funk in 'You can do it'; latin in 'Free,' RnB in 'Stay Together' and soul in 'Matter of fact'
Yet know matter what the genre it is all linked together by the ability to structure tunes that have a lasting melody that will continue to linger in your head for many days after playing them. There may be contradictions in some of the lyrical content of the songs but there is absolutely no contradictions to be heard in the music. It's just sophisticated soul at it's most eclectic.
By far one of the finest soul albums out this year, grab it!
There is a lovely organic and soulful feel to her music, which is so often lacking in much of today’s over-produced music. Highlights include ‘On My Way’, ‘Everything’ and ‘Hypnotize You’, and the wonderful ‘Joyride’:
While I’m awake (2010)Within the beauty and excitement of songwriting, there are no limits to what comes out of one's deepest thoughts and observations. When the pen hits the paper and the spirit moves inside, inspirations can come at any time and any place. While riding the subways, Giovanca carried her notebook capturing all her experiences in creating her debut, Subway Silence. The music spun a positive, upbeat soul/pop hybrid that spanned several decades of influences - from Dionne Warwick to Motown to Corrine Bailey Rae. For her second release, While I'm Awake, the Dutch singer/songwriter invested the time writing material during lengthy periods of insomnia.
Giovanca's long, sleepless nights that inspired While I'm Awake focus primarily on love in various degrees set to a hodgepodge of musical backdrops. The bubbly sixties pop of "Everything" states that love is a matter of being satisfied within one's self: "Why would you measure what we have against someone else's happiness?" A lively Motown-fueled R&B/gospel blend is the soundtrack for the fairly depressing themed "Drop It," about love's complicated relationships: "Sometimes I think loving you seems more like fate than it is a choice." "Lovechild" - a Madonna style, eighties funked up dance jam - centers on unconditional love: "I won't love you and leave you behind." On the neo-soul tip, "She Just Wants to Know" relays the all too familiar, frustrating tale of a woman feeling insecure despite wanting to please her man: "She's just trying to understand, His eyes are wondering off again." A plea for finding the right man, "Time is Ticking," kicks in full steam ahead ragtime blues.
The strongest assets on While I'm Awake are Giovanca's straight-up songwriting and her unique musical vision to accompany those lyrics. Unfortunately, Giovanca's fairly plain voice rarely generates much passion or soulful aftertaste behind those songs. But whatever mood she expresses from her notebook, While I'm Awake absolutely translates into fascinating storylines.
“While I’m awake... I realised that I have two lives: a night one and a day one. The resulting fatigue goes deep down in my head and my heart. It gives me an insomniac’s view of the world—and that forms the inspiration for this album.”
Giovanca’s first album focussed on subway travel. The singer travelled with a notebook to write down all the images that she was confronted with, which was then the basis for Subway Silence. For her second album, she travelled more within herself. Her notebook was placed beside her bed since inspiration seemed to come mostly at night when she couldn’t sleep. ‘Until around 3AM it’s okay to be awake but then after four it really isn’t fun anymore. At night, you’re supposed to sleep so you try everything to fall asleep. But of course that doesn’t work. For a while I thought it as a problem but then I decided if I can’t sleep I should just be productive. ‘While I’m awake, I might as well…” do laundry, do my nails, clean my inbox, clean the house, spin some records, write some songs...’
A lot of the songs on While I’m Awake found their seed in the night. Refrains arose above through the tiredness. Certain dark states of mind gave rise to song texts. That’s how ‘Simply Mad’ happened: a beautiful delicate song about definitive farewells that Giovanca wrote the basis for and then finished it with Han Kooreneef. ‘With my last album I would have never made an album about death. It was simply not in me. But at night you can surrender to all kinds of thoughts and emotions that just don’t happen in the day. Sometimes you lie there and one moment you are thinking about life and love, and in the other moment you are thinking about death.’
Insomnia brought Giovanca many different moods and they’ve all been brought together on this album. ‘While I’m Awake … I am sometimes sad, or puzzled or perky. Sometimes it’s peaceful and other times a big rush of adrenaline is released.
’ While I’m Awake offers yet another dimension of Giovanca as both singer and lyric writer. As with Subway Silence, Giovanca wrote most of the lyrics herself while enjoying collaborating with producer Benny Sings. ‘Like no one else he can translate my texts and melodies into one clear sound. Benny, the band, the engineer Huub Rijnders and I all take turns inspiring each other. We were a true collective that blasted out this album in a few days.’
In 2008 Giovanca made her name with her debut Subway Silence. She enticed both pop and jazz fans with her voice, charisma and singular style. The reviews were very positive. Nu.nl described it as ‘…a debut you can only dream of.’ OOR wrote: ‘It’s time for the rest of the world to get to know one of the Netherlands’ biggest musical talents.’ And that is exactly what happened when Giovanca went on tour and played such places as the North Sea Jazz Festival, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and various stages in Europe and Japan (a country where her album sold particularly well). ‘Top artist Giovanca plays soft and hard—and pulls the stars from the sky,’ reported GPD. The website 3voor12 described her live show as: ‘Super pure, full of soul, with effortless changes and an enormous amount control of her voice. Giovanca got everyone swinging.’
Giovanca received an Edison Award nomination, and won both the Laren Jazz Award and the 3FM Serious Talent Award. On 3 March 2010, she received a Silver Harp that awards young artists who ‘have already made a significant contribution to Dutch music while still having a huge future ahead of them.’