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Renee Olstead CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 264 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With a seriously bluesy jazz voice, Olstead wows everyone who hears her, including the renowned David Foster who co-produced this album of classics. Unless someone told you, you might never suspect that Olstead is only in high school! Renee Olstead...hear her...you won't believe your ears.

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No less an expert on pop affairs than Neil Sedaka likens the impossibly mature voice of 14-year-old vocalist/TV star (CBS' Still Standing) Renee Olstead to "Patsy Cline, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday all wrapped in one." There's no disputing the sultry vocal talents showcased on this debut that balances familiar chestnuts from the great American songbook ("Summertime," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Sentimental Journey") with more recent fare that veers from R 'n' B sass ("Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby") to 70s chart hits like Sedaka's own "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" and Maria Muldaur's "Midnight at the Oasis." A cynical ear might question how much of Olmstead's own life informs these bluesy performances: how trying can eigth grade be for an attractive redhead with a major label contract? Indeed, the tagline for at least one latter-day Ella Fitzgerald project comes frequently to mind here: "Is it real, or it Memorex?" Olmstead is yet another teen protege of hugely successful producer David Foster (who's midwifed the careers of Josh Groban and Michael Buble in recent years), and he provides her with some sturdy jazz arrangements to riff emotively on here--even if his production is as slick and bloodless as ever. Still, Foster's penchant for overwrought melodrama is kept mercifully in check on his own composition "I Want a Love to Last," while his shrewd teaming of the young chanteuse with fellow teen pop phenom Peter Cincotti on Sedaka's "Breaking Up.." deftly underscores the promising talents of both. --Jerry McCulley
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 25, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • ASIN: B00020HEL6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,683 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Like the song that was written for her, "A Love That Will Last", Renee Olstead is here to stay. Unless you know that Renee is a fifteen year old, you have no idea that this marvelous voice belongs to a teenager. She sounds so much older in the arrangements, and her voice is so melodic and stylistic. As some would say, Renee has an arranger and conductor and entrepreneur, David Foster, who ensures that this songstress will be her best.

The songs Renee chose to sing are the standards, the songs that we remember being sung by Ella and Diana. My favorite is the song that was written for her by Linda Thompson, "A Love That Will Last". A new song sung by a new voice, but sounding so sultry and defined. "What A Difference a Day Makes", is one of the standards that stands out- a lyrical salute to the oldies. "Summertime" is graceful and lazy and easy. "Is It You Or Is You Ain't My Baby", is one of those songs that has your toes tappin' and your fingers snappin' to the beat. The other songs are the old standards that we all love: "Taking A Chance On Love", "Someone To Watch Over Me", the old Neil Sedaka song, and "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," Sunday Kind Of Love", "On A Slow Boat To China", "Midnight At The Oasis", and "Sentimental Journey".

This CD is a find; it was a present to me to mark the end of treatment and will always have a place in my heart. This young, fresh voice brings hope and renewal to us all.

Renee Olstead has a future that is bright, and at this young age, she will need guidance and support. She has found this in David Foster. He has assisted in the career of Josh Groban and other young people. This is a CD to be recommended. prisrob
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Format: Audio CD
Renee Olstead could turn out to be the discovery of the decade. With a voice as nuanced, versatile and downright charming as they come she's about to set the musical world on fire with the release of her first major-label album.
The fact that Renee's still in high school (!) may give her extra credit, but she doesn't need it. This jazzy-bluesy torch singer can easily hold her own with the big gals like Norah Jones and Diana Krall while evoking the young Doris Day and even Roberta Flack.
"Renee Olstead" has several break-out tunes which stay in your head for hours, including her spellbinding and swirly "Summertime," her impeccably voiced "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby" and her deliriously beautiful remake of Maria Muldaur's signature song, "Midnight at the Oasis."
Unlike other famous musical wunderkinds whose precocity (and notoriety) is much more apparent than their artistry, Renee Olstead doesn't overachieve in the slightest. Rather, she is utterly convincing as an assured and adept stylist with an affinity for music given to few.
After hearing this extraordinary album I can fully understand the raves it's been getting from professional critics as well as their collective disbelief that this is "just a kid" singing.
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Format: Audio CD
Help me, I'm under Renee Olstead's spell! I've been playing her new CD for like the last 5 hours. This girl is the future of music!
I don't know jazz the way some people do so I can't comment on the specific solo music stuff, but it's all great. The band really cooks! But I was listening mainly to Renee's voice. She sounds a little like Betty Boop in Someone to Watch Over Me, doesn't she? Then she sounds a lot like Jewel on some tunes and a little bit of Norah Jones and Sheryl Crow, but mostly she sounds like herself. She really has an amazingly pretty voice that comes across as both strong and vulnerable.
The best stuff is her uptempo songs. She was born to sing this kind of music like Is You Is or Is You Aint my Baby. Her words just bounce along in perfect syncopation. I wasn't so impressed with Breakin' Up is Hard to Do because, in direct contrast, it drags along. A Love That Will Last is the best of the slow ones and it brings out the deepest emotions.
So ...... I took a break long enough to type this review. Now it's back to the music - Renee's music from which I may never recover!
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By A Customer on June 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I heard a couple of her songs while listening to a local station here in Las Vegas that is considered "the old person's station" - I'm 30 and love the music they play, a lot of standard vocalists. Her version of "Slow Boat to China" made me sit up and take serious notice -and even more so when the DJ said she was only 14!!! How could that be?! Such mature talent for such a young age!!! So today I bought her cd and there is not a single song that isn't good - that's a difficult statement to make considering a lot of contemporary artists only offer one or two desirable pieces on their albums. Her interpretations of many of the the songs are impressive. Her vocal talents are incredibly impressive, period. I'm so happy to have found her and to be able to enjoy her voice (I'm currently listening to it for the 4th time in a row! Yes, it's THAT good). Apparently this young lady was influenced by Celine Dion since she was a young child - although, it's interesting because I haven't picked up any Celine-oriented influences, thankfully, because I do not like her singing whatsoever.
Anyway, anyone that loves standards and jazz REALLY will be pleased with this cd. I'm proudly adding this cd to my collection of Sarah Vaughn, Shirley Horn, Lena Horne, A.C. Jobim, Diana Krall, etc.
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