Songs From My Heart
Parris Lane offers a mix of jazz, pop and gospel songs with a positive, energetic message that mirrors the singer’s world view on “Songs from My Heart.”. She comes closest to meeting that goal in “All the Way”. Featuring beautiful accompaniment by pianist Mickey Basil, is a slow, emotional cabaret style rendition that gets all (I mean all) of the bittersweet vulnerability of the lyric. The area’s prima diva of song fans knows the multi-talented Lane is tough to pigeonhole as an artist.
I heard Lane’s beautiful voice on the evening news one night and then spent weeks trying to find her so I could persuade her to upload a song. She performs mainly at private and corporate events leaving on her CDs for the public at large to enjoy.
There will always be flavors of the month even for female songstress, but with high quaility material and vocals to match, Parris Lane should be around even after the rest melt away.
“She’s a combination of Chaka Kahn, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston....Parris is tough.”
Parris Lane, Maryland's own Diva Extraordinaire, has just released her much-awaited CD on Raven Records entitled Songs From My Heart. The choice of music was inspired by Parris' wide-ranging repertoire and by her involvement in the wedding band circuit. Says Parris, "I felt there was so much negativity in today's music that I wanted to put together a collection of uplifting songs to make you feel like loving or being in love or, best of all, both at once. I want my music to remind you of those moments of perfect love you wanted to last forever."
With 11 tracks, some familiar, some brand new, plus a surprise for fans at the end, Parris includes a mix of jazz, standards, gospel, and pop. Her cover version of Paul McCartney's My Love truly makes it her own while her a capella, five octave adaptation of the spiritual Cum Ba Ya knocks the wind out of you.
Brand new songs on the CD include Love Is By Your Side, with words and music by Skip Scarborough, Parris Lane and Paul Moessl; I Think Of You and Special Place, both with words and music by Donald Robinson. Skip Scarborough is a world-renowned, Grammy award-winning songwriter with a string of hit songs recorded by international stars like Earth, Wind & Fire, Bill Withers, Dionne Warwick, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle. His hit songs include Love or Let Me Be Lonely, Lovely Day, You Can't Hide Love, Giving You the Best, Don't Ask My Neighbor, Love Changes and now, I'd Rather Have You, a recording by Parris of one of the first songs he wrote for Earth, Wind & Fire.
Donald Robinson produced, arranged, and played on four tracks. Donald, one of Philadelphia's best known producers and session players, arranged and produced the hit Dreamin' for Vanessa Williams. He was the late Grover Washington's Musical Director and he has also worked with Stephanie Mills, Nancy Wilson, Gladys Knight, and Jasmine Guy to name a few.
All the songs on the Songs From My Heart CD have a special meaning for Parris and there are some local associations. Fly Me to the Moon was recorded live at the Maryland Inn's King of France Tavern with Bob Butta accompanying. Bob was voted Baltimore's best jazz pianist. Daughter of God, one of the last pieces of music written by the late Howard Ashman with Alan Menken, was recorded using a group of local Annapolis children as back up. Ashman and Menken are the Grammy, Golden Globe and Oscar award-winning duo known world-wide for their music for Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Little Mermaid, and the Little Shop of Horrors. Also included are two intriguing versions of All The Way, the first duet with Annapolis' own Mickey Basil, who was Kenny Rogers' pianist for a number of years; the second a big band arrangement produced by Omega Studios' giant, Ed Peterson. Several songs were produced and arranged by Parris Lane and her brother, Chuck Lloyd who co-wrote E.U.'s Taste Of Your Love. E. U. is a well-known Washington, DC band who had the hit Da Butt on the soundtrack of Spike Lee's movie, School Daze.
Photograph: Ken Mierzejewski