“Singing hits me in the face like an electric current.
To able to give that back to people is an amazing feeling.”
Every so often, a new artist will come along whose unique blend of voice and melody makes people sit up and take notice. Carmen Liana is one of those talented few.
Her attention-grabbing vocals have already earned Liana (pronounced Lie-Anna) backup stints with such popular hitmakers as Chaka Khan and Monica. Her voice also graced a 2003 TV and radio advertising campaign for Greyhound.
Now the Atlanta-based singer/songwriter is ready to leave a more permanent stamp by way of her first album, “Who I Am.“ Slated for digital release January 26,2010 via Lotus/Bungalo/Universal Music Group, the album showcases an artist who is truly passionate about her craft.
“Singing hits me in the face like an electric current,” says Liana with her southern lilt. “Here I am sharing one of the greatest gifts God gave me to the world. Where it comes from is so genuine. And to be able to give that back to people is an amazing feeling.”
Dishing up melodic servings of R&B/hip-hop peppered with down-home grit, Liana slices through a range of emotions about love, life and relationships on “Who I Am.” Her frank and often humorous outlook resonates through pointed lyrics that teach as well as entertain.
Lead single “Luv Me 4ever” is a song that touch on that dream that some may consider a fairy tale dream where two people meet and instantaneous connection like soul mates that will share love forever. “Taking Applications” compares the quest of finding a significant other to that of finding the right job: interview a few prospects before jumping into the first situation that comes along.
Liana wrote or co-wrote eight of the album’s 10 tracks, working primarily with producer Wirlie Morris. The end result gives voice to a true talent with a natural flair for fusing classic and contemporary R&B.
“Carmen possesses a beautiful and distinctive voice,” says Morris, who has collaborated with such acts as Destiny’s Child, Anthony Hamilton, Musiq Soulchild and Yolanda Adams. “She doesn’t sound like everything else that’s out there.”
Liana‘s musical influences include Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Anita Baker and Lauryn Hill. “I like songs where women put their all into them; that raw feeling,“ she explains. “I’m singing about real life from my point of view, beyond the typical I love you and you make me feel good.”
Born in Cordele, Georgia, Liana was a self-described “Whitney Houston fanatic” at the age of eight. It wasn¹t until she turned 16--having outgrown a severe case of stage frigh--that Liana decided to follow her musical muse. “I love music too much,“ she adds. “When you love something and it’s greater than your fear, then you’ll conquer that fear.”
She did, relocating to Atlanta after high school graduation. Pursuing her other artistic muse as a painter, she attended Georgia Southwestern University and later American InterContinental University as a fine arts major. In between, Liana began singing hooks for an Atlanta rap group, C.O.M. Unit. From there, she joined a local girl group called Mizchief. Signed to R&B singer Montell Jordan’s production company, the trio later disbanded.
During her stints with the two groups, Liana began trying her hand at songwriting. Going back home to regroup after the Mizchief experience and a romantic breakup, she returned to Atlanta and began writing again in earnest.
“I decided that what other people were writing for me wasn’t what I was really feeling,” recalls the singer, who also plays guitar and flute. “Now I really love it.” Liana has since written songs for various acts including Lloyd, male group B5, 3LW and VH1’s “Born to Diva” winner Taralyn Ramsey.
Right now, however, Liana’s focus is on spreading the word about “Who I Am.”
“The music on this album represents who I am as an artist, a woman and a person,” says Liana. “Someone who’s confident, powerful--and humble.”