If there was ever a platform for Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh to showcase her vocal mastery, Centre Stage is it. Multiple career paths are knocking loudly on her door right now with her Girls Aloud reunion in full swing and an Arena tour with the group approaching as the five-piece celebrate their ten years together as well as having recently completed a successful stint on the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing, Kimberley has also finally released her debut album.
Taking a different approach to her debut than her Girls Aloud band mates, Kimberley is the fourth member to go solo (Sarah is the only one not to have released a solo record to date), and we really do wonder why it has taken her this long to produce something away from the group, particularly as we think that vocally, she is one of the strongest components in the act.
Centre Stage is an exquisite collection of covers from the musical world. It’s no surprise that the collection unites songs spanning decades of hit musicals given her stint in the West End run of Shrek recently and her passion for stage shows.
The opening One Day I’ll Fly Away is the first to introduce the collection and boasts a memorable vocal arrangement that suits Kimberley’s vocals probably more so than any other song on the record. She sings with soul and the textures she produces within the tracks syrupy melody allow the singers vocal talents to really shine. Without handing over her electro-pop reigns entirely, for those who opt for the deluxe version of the record there is an electric, dance floor version of the track as well as various acoustic versions of songs from the album.
On My Own is another key track on the collection. The song is one of the standout numbers from Les Miserables and Kimberley performs the track with gusto, reaching all the same emotional climaxes as heard in the stage show and film adaptation of the iconic story. It’s touching, melancholic and passionate with Kimberley hitting the nail right on the head with her performance of the song.
Boyzone star Ronan Keating joins Kimberley on the sweet ballad Falling Slowly that sees the pair deliver a heavily harmonized beauty as both sets of vocals dance around a piano driven melody seeing both singers impressive vocal ranges bask in the songs spotlight.
Further into the collection a gentle guitar strum and some complimenting backing vocals guide us through Another Suitcase In Another Hall, a staple track from Evita and one covered by many artists in the past but probably most notably by Madonna in the film adaptation of the stage show back in 1997. The track is sung sweetly by Kimberley who manages to put her own semi-seductive twist on the hit.
Transporting is right back to 1968, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang hit Hushabye Mountain is revamped with a stripped back vocal arrangement and a string section that doesn’t overwhelm the melody of the song but allows the singer’s vocals to remain centre stage on the track.
Taking a casual, smoke drenched jazz bar approach to As Long As He Needs Me we are offered a stunning version of the 1960 Oliver! hit. While Kimberley’s vocals resonate with nostalgic beauty the musical arrangement of the song is nothing short of brilliant as it hones into the essence of a classic.
Throughout Centre Stage we are offered an array of stunning compositions, vibrant vocal arrangements and songs that have really stood the test of time as the inclusions featured on the record span half a century and the pop star certainly has re-recorded each with the passion needed to recreate the magic that these songs have held on to for so many years and for so many musical aficionados. Kimberly is certainly the new Queen of Showtunes!
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
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