almost everyone who heard joanna's voice for the first time wanted to buy the album. her voice is refreshingly "smoky" and soulful and she doesn't sound chinese at all.

joanna, barely 20, is the daughter of famed taiwanese producer, wang zhi ping. her father exposed her to all genres of music at an early age. joanna started composing at the age of 14. and at 16, she started performing on stage. in fact, joanna reminds me a lot of my prodigy and ultra talented friend, mia palencia.

this debut album "start from here" is the result of 2 years' preparation and it turns out to be a mixed bag.

casual lovers of pop-jazz may fall in love with it instantly, simply because of joanna's rich voice but hardcore aficionados of jazz will be left wanting. musically, it is a far cry from norah jones' "come away with me", both albums belonging to the same genre.

the problem is not with joanna's singing, rather, it is her choice of songs. half of the tracks are half-boiled lazy and lifeless pop/jazz which are neither-here-nor-there stuff, hardly the kind of the stuff that evokes daydreams or chill-out like what is suggested of her voice. and the band and the arrangement aren't great either. i could have suggested better musicians for her ;-)

the 3 outstanding tracks here are title track "start from here", spandau ballet's "true" and billy joel's "new york state of mind", clearly indicating joanna's ability to interpret covers. of the 3, i pick "new york state of mind" as my personal fave while spandau's "true" is debatable, some may not like her unique interpretation.

having said all these not-so-favorable aspects, i truly love joanna's voice. rich and emotive, she could have become an audiophile singer and outsell jacintha, emi fujita and diana drall. but she needs a stronger production team and still stronger repertoire.

recording wise, it is just a normal pop recording with nothing to shout about.

to buy or not to buy? well, some of my lady friends like it. me? maybe my expectations were way too high; i don't regret buying it but it won't be on my regular spinning list.

music: 7 out of 10
sonics: 6 out of 10


Anonymous said...

i found out that the online sampler of her songs are more punchier & compressed (to sound more exciting)....however, the CD mastering was down a few notch.

I would appreciate your insight from an audiophile's view.

Martin Chua

aboon said...

How many points do you give for her look?

hoe said...

So is it thumbs up or down?

hafiz said...

If you are dissapointed in J Wang you should try out Regina Spektor

She is a Russian born-Jewish Girl from the Bronx...

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

hi martin,
this is an ordinary recording.

with this kind of voice, she can look ugly for all i care but seriously, 6.5/10 ;-) my favourite audiophile singer is keiko lee because she has good looks and a voluptuous midrange...eer....body, i mean ;-)

neither. recommended with reservations.