Sophisticated, sensual and romantic, Nicola Milan’s music represents a new sound in the Australasian jazz landscape. Nicola, of Welsh-Anglo-Indian heritage, has had her songs placed in feature length films, written for a popular web series, and released a debut EP ‘Little Rendezvous’ in November 2011 from which her composition “The Chapter You Wrote In My Life” placed in the top ten for the prestigious Australian Songwriting Competition.
This year Nicola was awarded a $9,750 grant from the Department of Culture and the Arts WA to record her debut full length album “Forbidden Moments” which was released on 10 May 2013 to a sellout crowd. The result of two years of Nicola’s songwriting work, the album boasts an incredible line up of musicians and has received rave reviews from the music industry, media and fans. Nicola will be touring extensively along Australia’s east coast for the rest of 2013 with a National Tour scheduled for January 2014.
“Forbidden Moments”, is Perth based composer and vocalist Nicola Milan’s first full length album and features ten tracks, all original works composed by Nicola and the result of two years of songwriting. While I’m a new fan of Nicola Milan, I have to say that she’s a great talent, and I’m glad that there’s an artist like her out there making music; regularly tortured by mainstream pop, hearing someone who has real class and musicianship without the hype is a much needed change of pace.
From the very first song on the “Forbidden Moments”, “No Room For Promises”, with its slip sliding rhythm, smoky delivery from Nicola, and smooth clarinet accompaniment, it’s really hard to put this album down. All of the arrangements are extremely well done, and Nicola brings out all of the emotions of each song like she’s really lived through them all. Especially “Love Me More”, I couldn’t stop listening to it. I just hit the loop button, and sunk into the lush sounds of the warm guitar, while I fell in love with Nicola’s soothing, comforting voice. Very few albums ever do that to me, and I already can’t wait for her next effort so she can do it to me again and again.
Nicola proves with this album that she doesn’t want to go the route of so many artists who use their albums to display how technically great they are; she just wants to deliver great music. My particular fascination for Nicola Milan comes from the fact that she embodies the same ethereal aura possessed by both Diana Krall and Norah Jones, and her voice is as syrupy smooth and just as beautiful too.
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The musical arrangements on “Forbidden Moments” are perfect and Nicola draws you in with beautifully intonated words, ambrosial vocal shadings, and subtle enticements throughout. Just listen to standout tracks like: “The Waiting Game”, “Siren Song”, “The Scent Of Her Perfume” featuring violinist Ashley Arbuckle; former co-leader of the London Symphony Orchestra and former concertmaster of the WA Symphony Orchestra, “Medicine Man”, “I Begin To Understand” and “Wrong Words”, of course without forgetting my absolute favorites “No Room For Promises” and “Love Me More”. And if you understand simple math, that’s 8 out of 10!
There is a spectacular line up of jazz musicians recording on the album including double bassist Pete Jeavons who has performed with international jazz artists including Mark Murphy, Michel Legrand, Geoffrey Keezer, Terreon Gully, Fred Wesley, Carmen Lundy and Andy Sheppard; drummer Michael Perkins who has performed with Don Burrows, Kevin Hunt, James Morrison, Ron Carter, Terrell Stafford, Graeme Lyall, Bob Barnard, and Danny Moss; guitarist Rick Webster who has supported artists including Hank Marvin, Daryl Braithwaite, Thirsty Merc, Mark Seymore and Ruby Rose, Ben Clarke on piano and accordion and Michael Collinson on woodwind who has performed with James Morrison, Marcia Hines, Jerry Lewis, David Campbell, Dale Barlo and Glenn Shorrock.
Recording took place at Crank Studios, Perth’s premier recording studio with sound engineer, composer and musician Lee Buddle who has recorded for Kelly Clarkson and Katie Noonan.
The album is classy and tasteful. Even the album cover itself is unique, with the retro 1950’s-esque artwork by Nicola Milan herself and Cathy Prastides, being worth the price of the album by itself. Each and every song selection is truly worth listening to over and over again on this album and the quality of Nicola Milan’s backing band plus the sublime musical arrangements, truly bring out the beauty of her velvety voice even more. I am looking forward to hearing more wonderful work from this superb and refined artist in future. In the meantime, much like you, I’ll just chill with “Forbidden Moments”.
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