Thursday, January 7, 2010

FEATURES: Lina-The Song Bird

Anyone who showed up in time for the opening credits of last year’s holiday hit movie “This Christmas” heard a catchy new rendition of “Santa Baby” booming through the theater speakers. That was Lina, a neo-soul vocalist who has the chops to take center stage, yet opts to take a grassroots approach to winning fans, having dropped three albums to date.
Lina’s latest album, Morning Star, is an attempt to merge fans from her two earlier releases. She says, “I had fans from Stranger on Earth who didn’t know it was the same person who sang “Smooth” on the “Inner Beauty Movement.” Lina believes Morning Star is a mix of both prior CDs.

Growing up she says she listened to lots of Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Sara Vaughn. “Stranger on Earth” reflected those early influences, while “Inner Beauty Movement” her sophomore release, reflected soul influences she’d also grown up listening to, including artists like Stevie Wonder, and Earth Wind & Fire. “This is an album for people to put the pieces together,” she says.
Like many artists Lina left her home town in pursuit of bigger and better things in Hollywood. She believes a lot of people in LA lack integrity, yet she appreciates the hustle of the artists in the area, contending that LA is, in fact, where dreams are made. She recalled Whitney Houston asking her if she believed she was ready for Hollywood, telling her she would need a thick skin because of how people always seem to want to see you rise and fall. After years in LA, she recently moved back in Texas, enduring a bit of culture shock because she said everyone was so nice, so down-to-earth.
While living in Texas, the songstress is following another passion of hers, fashion, and she opened a boutique called “California Dreamin”. “I called it that because a lot of my friends in Texas ask about clothes that I buy when I’m in LA”. Lina tries to commit equal time to both business ventures. She says when she’s not in the studio she spend lots of time in the store. The store is located just outside of Dallas in the Keith Salon.
Because Texas isn’t known for much music other than Country, living there presents some challenges with running her record label, causing her to make frequent trips to LA, but she is up to the task. Though she originally signed with Atlantic Records, and later with Hidden Beach, Lina released her newest CD on her own label, Moodstar Recordings. She says running a label has proven to be more challenging than being an artist, but adds that for both jobs, the music comes first. In fact, she says the artist part of her personality did lots of free shows until her business managers advised her to stop. “A lot of people are in it for the money,” she says, “but for me, it’s all about the music. If it’s not coming from a real place, the fans can tell. I have a passion for it.” As a business owner, she says she respects the artists on her label and sees them as part of the team. “We are in business together,” she said.
Mood Star Recordings has two artists who currently have completed projects. John Travis is blue-eyed soul, who sings, produces and plays various instruments. The labels newest artist is Victor Flowers. In addition to playing in Lina’s band, Flowers has produced for Jay Z, Alicia Keys and Jadakiss. Even with his talent as a producer and musician, Lina boasts about his songwriting ability. She confessed to crying when she listened to the words of his songs. “I felt stupid when I heard it. He has such beautiful messages”.
Morning Star, Lina’s last CD is what she describes as “soul music”. It features two lead singles which are both mid tempo grooves. The first song on the CD is “Wake Up,” on which she sings about figuring out what’s going on in your life or relationship. “I’ll Stick Around”, is yet another song from the CD, about which she says, “This is an ode to working with our men, and not leaving him when he’s having hard times.” The current single “My Man” will be on the new album but it is already getting regular rotation on adult stations. This is a song where she often grabs people from the audience to have fun and sing the hook with her. She says her previous songs have been about other peoples’ situations, but on Morning Star and her new music she sings about her own experiences.
So what’s next for Lina? She is gearing up for shows in the south, and about to release two new CDs, a live CD and a Jazz CD. Check out Lina’s latest release, Morning Star, and for more on Lina and other artists on Moodstar Recordings, visit www.moodstarrecordings.com

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