Welcome to Nina’s Heaven
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil () - September 6, 2002 - 12:00am
Newcomer Nina imparts a valuable lesson to all aspiring recording artists out there. She says that it pays to try. This was what she did when she put together a demo of songs she felt she can do well, Breath Again, Against All Odds and Foolish Heart. Then she sent it to Warner Music. If nothing happened, she would just send it to the others. And just like that, she received a call. Warner wanted to put her under contract. Just like that.

Contrary to what usually happens in local showbiz circles, no manager or well-known producer pulled strings for her. Nina did not even send a photo, which means that Warner signed her up, sight unseen. Of course, later, it probably helped that she looks just as good as she sounds, with the face and figure of a future pop star. Still, Niña’s experience is something for all newcomers to think about. If you have the talent, then it certainly pays to try.

All that happened less than a year ago. Late last month, Nina’s debut album titled Heaven was released in the market. As befits Warner’s first new contract artist in quite sometime, Heaven is quite a package. Production is sleek and Nina’s delivery, smooth. A pronounced danceable beat segues from one cut to the next but it is never heavy nor frenetic. It is instead used as a stable base for Nina’s sweet but definitely multi-octave singing voice. This is surely her strongest point and it is really a blessing to know that she can skillfully wield her vocals to conform to the demands of every song.

To fully project Nina’s capability as an R&B artist and to give the album a true R&B feel, Warner sourced songs from composers and arrangers from abroad. The credits mention the US and Korea. These include First Kiss, Jealous, The Greatest Gift of All and the first single release and title cut Heaven. Three cuts, 2nd Floor, Kung Ibibigay Sa ’yo and Loving You and by the late Gerry Paraiso are the Filipino contributions.

Proof of Nina’s musicality is the inclusion of Steve Perry’s Foolish Heart, one of the songs she included in the demo that got her the Warner contract. If the way she sings it in the album is in any way similar to what she did in the demo, then I am not at all surprised that Warner got interested in her. She sounds fantastic!

Nina has been preparing for this great opportunity ever since she can remember. To be a singer was all she ever wanted to do and she believes she inherited this from her late father who sang for the Bayanihan Dance Company in his younger days. Nina’s childhood was filled with singing and dancing lessons which she never hesitated to show off when opportunities to perform came up.

She was so determined to succeed that she turned professional right after high school. It was a grueling schedule that meant doing homework in dressing rooms in between three sets that would last up to the early morning. But Nina managed to juggle college with her regular stints with bands like Silk, Big Thing and Essence. Then, armed with her business degree, major in accounting from Miriam College, she proceeded to pursue her singing career.

The times augur well for Nina. Aside from the all-out support she gets from her family and Warner plus colleagues like the other members of Essence who allow her to do her solo stints while remaining with the group, she is working very hard to make her dreams come true.
Today’s hits
It is still a race between Regine Velasquez and Mandy Moore for supremacy in the local airlanes with their hits Dadalhin Kita and Cry. The other tunes getting real strong market response from the public these days are If Tomorrow Never Comes by Ronan Keating; Evergreen by Westlife; Dilemma by Nelly and Kelly Rawlings; Complicated by Avril Lavigne; Back to You by John Mayer; A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton; Only Hope also by Mandy; and Stranded by Jennifer Paige. As for the albums, you might want to check out the acoustic collection by Side A which seems to be one of the must have albums of the moment.

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