(05 March 2000) The second album from Australian singer
songwriter and beauty
Michelle Tumes is entitled Center Of My
Universe (Sparrow Records (USA) SPD 1696, 2000) comes
on the heels of her highly successful Listen
(Sparrow Records (USA) SPD 1546, 1998). Centered on
her characteristically ethereal vocals and produced by
David Leonard and Michelle Tumes, the album's ten tracks
are highly accessible alternative rock-oriented numbers
with primarily secular lyrical themes; it is in the
format and is accompanied by an high quality liner notes
with complete lyrics, credits and lovely colour
photography. Sparrow Records has
produced another stunning
website to accompany the album while another
[independent or fan-based]
video clips, additional soundbites and amateur photographs.
Michelle's late autumn tour met with widespread acclaim.
A classically trained pianist, Michelle gave up her
idea of a music career for a time and studied dentistry
until her little sister gave her some money from a paper route
to make a demo of her songs. With that vote of confidence and
some interestr from publishing companies, Michelle set out to
pursue a career in the United States. After landing cuts by
artists like Jaci Velasquez and Sixpence None The Richer,
Michelle signed a record deal and released her debut album.
She received an ipressive nod from her peers with a Dove
Award Nominaton in 1999 for New Artist of the Year.
The lush orchestral arrangements on Michelle Tumes' albums
perfectly compliment her ethereal lead and multi-tracked backing
vocals and create a highly accessible sound designed to appeal
to the broadest audience. Center Of My Universe opens
with "Deep Love" an upbeat Enya-esque tune. "Heaven's Heart"
is a soft rocking tune with more pronounced guitar and
percussion but equally effective orchestral arrangements.
Michelle's sweeet lead vocals are mixed higher and the layers
of backing vocal add wonderful texture. The ballads "Lovely"
and "Immortal" are equally lush each with their own rich
instrumentals, stunning vocal lead and layers of backing vocals
but slower pace.
"Do Ya is quite different, and I'm sure people will be
shocked by it," admits Michelle. It's very upbeat and
pop-oriented. "I wanted people to see there is a different
side to me, that I don't always float around and write serene
music. That song addresses the fact that looks really don't
matter—it's what's on the inside. Everyone's unique, and
that's a fantastic thing." It would be perfect song for play
within WB's Popular television.
Michelle's sensual lead vocal in "Missing You" is mixed way
up in spots with little instrumentation however the choruses
have lots of backing layers that add to the acoustic textures.
More spoken than typical for Michelle, the lead vocal in "With
The Angels" is equally exquisite, evocative and sensual; the
layers in the choruses are very accessible—listen for the short
whispery hook. A first for Michelle, "Chant" is an immediate link
back to more spiritual days. Inspired by a visit to an Othodox
church, Michelle reflects, "The music they used in that church
was so sacred, and this chant was written with that in mind. It
helps me to be still, and silent, and in that place I become
very peaceful." The strings supporting otherwise a capella
choral work are very effective.
A gothic texture is captured with robust and uplifting
orchestral arrangements and percussion in the highly
accessible and moving vocal number "Christe Eleison," a
certain favourite from the album. The closing track, "I
Wish For Peace," is a short and soft ballad sung sensitively
mainly with piano accompaniment.
You can order Michelle Tumes' latest album Center Of My Universe
here or her debut album Listen
here. Clearly Michelle Tumes is continuing to stretch her talent beyond
conventional musical boundaries with this new album. Perfect production
and top quality recording compliments the song writing and artists'
performances. Worthy of a cross country journey, this new album is a
stunning achievement and certain to please female vocal enthusiasts.
Like her debut album of the same name, it is a must Listen!