Valerie Ghent | Unstoppable

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Unstoppable

by Valerie Ghent

Valerie Ghent's "Unstoppable" CD offers infectious, funk-based grooves & gorgeous pop ballads. Val's striking voice and crystal clear record production fills these eleven songs of love and truth, survival and justice. A musical oasis; a must-have.
Genre: Pop: Pop/Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Unstoppable
6:11 $0.99
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2. Silences
6:30 $0.99
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3. Truth
5:34 $0.99
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4. No One Else
4:54 $0.99
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5. Right Here Beside You
5:15 $0.99
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6. Survive
4:51 $0.99
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7. Oasis
6:01 $0.99
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8. Keep Me Strong
4:38 $0.99
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9. Justice
5:10 $0.99
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10. Place In This World
5:48 $0.99
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11. Whisper
4:25 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
About Unstoppable:

The debut album by New York singer-songwriter Valerie Ghent was created almost entirely her home midi studio. She recorded most of the eleven songs herself, and bartered engineering for studio time to record vocals and guitar/cello/bass/accordion/sax overdubs.

Additional musicians on Unstoppable include Tony “Babyshoes” Bridges (bass), Knox Chandler (guitar), Kit Hain, Deborah Berg, Sherryl Marshall and Elise Morris (background vocals) and Val's mother, Nathalie Gudkov Ghent, speaking in Russian! Yuri Zak, the accordionist, was discovered playing in the NYC subways & brought straight to the studio. Once tracking was finished, the CD was mixed with renowned engineers Michael Brauer, Michael Barbiero, Tsuyoshi Inoue, Alex Haas, Harvey Goldberg and Carl Beatty and mastered by Greg Calbi.

Val says, "It took several years to finish Unstoppable because at that time I was recording the Ashford & Simpson w/ Maya Angelou album, "Been Found", during the days – and coming home to work on Unstoppable at night! It was on this CD that I taught myself Photoshop, Quark and the basics of graphic design to create the CD artwork."

Musicians on Unstoppable:
valerie ghent - vocals, keyboards, producer
tony bridges - bass
knox chandler - guitar, cello
nigel hitchcock - saxophone
benjamin orick - drums
yuri zak - accordion
natalia ghent - russian voice
kit hain, napua davoy, deborah berg, sherryl marshall, elise morris, valerie ghent - backing vocals

Press:

Valerie has been featured in Billboard, The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Keyboard Magazine, New York Press, American Songwriter, The Villager, The Aquarian and many others. She has sung live on Oprah, Channel 2's "The Early Show", Rosie O'Donnell, Pat Sajak and been interviewed by NPR. Some reviews are below. For full press please visit http://valghent.com

REVIEW: Music Direct/New Music Series: Valerie Ghent

As soon as you hear her music, you’ll know Valerie Ghent is a product of her environment.

Born and raised in Greenwich Village, Ghent’s thoroughly downtown sensibility colors every track of ‘Unstoppable’ – the debut release from a keyboard virtuoso and studio wizard who’s worked with some of the biggest names in the business – from R&B legends Ashford & Simpson to avant-garde composer Laurie Anderson.

For her first solo project, Ghent decided to take complete control of the reins – founding her own record label and assembling much of the album in her home studio. She also wrote, arranged, performed and recorded these 11 songs herself, with longtime friend, Jimmy Biondolillo, co-producing.

“We didn’t really have the finances to record basic tracks in a ‘real’ studio,” she says. “So Jimmy pushed me to record as much as possible right here, where there was no pressure. Later on I traded many hours of engineering time to gain access to outside studios, where I could record my vocals and add the guitar, bass and drum overdubs.”

Those touches – plys the evocative accompaniment of a Russian accordionist on one track – are proof that Ghent has learned an important musical truism: that technology is most effective when it’s paired with skilled performers and genuine human emotion.

“Jimmy encouraged my to do much of this album myself and – most importantly – have fun doing it,” she says.

And that’s what ultimately comes through on this CD: a spirit of self-reliance and exuberant creative freedom. After years as a highly sought-after, behind-the-scenes player, Ghent has finally stepped forward to follow her own ‘unstoppable’ instincts.

Music Direct - Volume 7

Music Direct was a wonderful music subscription series, one quite ahead of its time. Each month Music Direct compliled a CD of ‘must listen’ to releases, both of new and emerging artists as well as established artists.

Volume 7 featured “New Releases” Clive Gregson, Rich Wyman, Jason Falkner, Valerie Ghent, David Massengill, Steve Schuch, William Topley, The Power of Peace; “Hit Makers” Simply Red, Hughie Lewis & the News; and “The Return Of” David Sanborne and Natalie Cole.

REVIEW: t@p music plug: “A One Woman Show”

“…a smart woman in a crafty business.”

Valerie Ghent
Unstoppable

reviewed by em hedge

Valerie is amazingly accomplished, not only as a performer, but as a composer, producer and computer programmer. Though you might not recognize her name, her bio reveals deep entrenchment within the established music world: her first band opened for Depeche Mode‘s first show in the States; she studied the Synclavier Direct-to-Disk system for four years under British record producer Mike Thorne (who also worked with the likes of Soft Cell, ’til Tuesday, and Bronski Beat); since the late 80′s she’s worked with Grayson Hugh, Deborah Harry, The Communards, Laurie Anderson, John Cale, Siouxie and the Banshees, Defunkt and most recently Ashford & Simpson – just to name a few.

What all this means is that Valerie Ghent is no newcomer to the music business, and that is the way her music should be approached and listened to…Valerie’s work is so different from the demented wailing of today’s Top 40 that it almost leans toward easy-listening; it isn’t until you know of this woman’s experience (and expertise) that her whole style comes together as a cumulative picture of years of behind-the-scenes work. It’s her first solo statement of all that she’s learned from being a smart woman in a crafty business.

I think the opening paragraph of her bio sums it up the best:

“The story behind Valerie Ghent’s debut album, Unstoppable, is a capsule chronicle of the New York underground music scene. It’s the story of a talented woman in a historic time, of musicians recording, regrouping and reflecting the multitude of influences and stylistic changes that come naturally as a legendary music scene evolves.”

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Reviews


to write a review

Titus Levi, KEYBOARD MAGAZINE

Ghent's spirit and intellect shine bright...songs with impact and sparkle!
Keyboard Magazine - March 1998,
'discoveries'
by Titus Levi:

We don’t think of it often, but African music permeates American music.
It’s sort of in the shadows, but check it: that swinging drum beat, that
shout, the energy, the feeling, the layering of the lines. Sure, you can
find bits and pieces of these elements elsewhere in the world. American
music is infused with all kinds of European elements (not the least of
which is the whole song structure). But somewhere beneath it all the
African spirit remains.

Yet that spirit has such depth and breadth that it can form the
foundations of very different musics. Both of this month’s discoveries,
Valerie Ghent and Tom Roady, mine this rich vein with quite different
results. Ghent’s Unstoppable CD covers funk, R+B, rock, and pop in a
series that snap between forms like a hiker on switchbacks; Roady’s One
Tribe disc ambles across whole ranges of African-based music, from the
percussive and trance-like to the danceable and the foot-stomping.

Both musicians put these discs together under unusual and taxing
circumstances; both took over two years to record. Ghent, who works as
an engineer and backing vocalist for Ashford and Simpson, completed her
CD at nights after days in the studio with the soul duo. “The first
record took so long. I don’t want to do that again. Also, by the time I
was done, I felt I’d outgrown some of the songs, although some really
developed over the course of the time that I worked on the recording.”

Roady, who spends his days as a percussionist in the Nashville studios
with such country music luminaries as Tanya Tucker, Merle Haggard,
Trisha Yearwood and Hank Williams, Jr., put this CD together as a test
of the flexibility of the Zendrum. “I played no acoustic instruments at
all on this CD. I definitely won’t do that again, because I really enjoy
playing the other drums. And I played everything in real time. That’s a
lot of why it took two years.”

In both cases the long gestation periods seem justified. One Tribe
ranges from ambient pieces of ringing “percussion” and “strings” to
rootsy rhumbas, sunny light jazz, toe-tappin’ rock (with the horn
section of a Nashville band called Rush Hour) and music taken from the
Andean highlands. Through it all, a pulse, a deep reference to the drum,
and a richness of rhythm sustains and powers the pieces. Some of it
comes from Africa, a lot from Illinois (where Roady used to live), and
some from the American South, where he’s resided for more than 15 years.

The African spirit comes into Ghent’s music by way of musical
associations with Deborah Harry (who always emphasized a certain loopy,
funky blues spirit), the hard driving soul/funk/jazz outfit Defunkt, and
the afore-mentioned Ashford and Simpson. And while Unstoppable veers
into smoother and more laidback pop pieces, the strength of Ghent’s
spirit and intellect shines bright on pieces like the title track,
“Truth”, “Survive”, and “Place In This World”. On these pieces her
straightforward soloing, programming skills (her Korg M1 has been
totally reprogrammed for her personal preferences) and producing come
together to fashion songs with impact and statement.

Now, that both of their albums are out, Ghent and Roady have had to
don the hat of the huckster. After jumping all over the task, Ghent is
slowing down, saying, “I’ve been re-evaluating the way my life was
restructured” by trying to be a player, producer, engineer and promoter.
Her recent stint as an engineer at KISS-FM in New York has allowed her
to see the inside of the corporate radio world; on upcoming efforts she
will probably be better equipped as a result of this experience.

Roady, on the other hand, works not only as a promoter for the album,
but also for the Zendrum, the remarkable instrument that he used to
realize virtually all the tracks on One Tribe. After being introduced to
the instrument in 1994 by Walfredo Reyes, Jr., he acquired one and is
even an investor in the company manufacturing the instruments. (You can
learn more about the Zendrum at www.zendrum.com/index.htm.) “On the CD I
was able to play more melodic things, “ Roady says. “You get the
sensitivity and velocity. People are just beginning to understand what I
wanted to do with it.”

Through her father, Emmanuel Ghent, who worked at Bell Labs with such
electronic music pioneers as Max Mathews, Valerie learned about music
programming and instruments which, like the Zendrum, emerged outside the
mainstream. She’s even sampled some of the old gizmos, she told me, but
they sound so peculiar she hasn’t figured out a piece for them yet.

To give the Zendrum more visibility, Roady uses the instrument
whenever he can: “I just played a demonstration at Waldenbooks with
guitar-harp player Tom Shinness. The instrument is on the new
Wynonna...Whenever people see it they’re amazed. But what I really need
is to have it show up on an MTV video.”


Name: Valerie Ghent
Style: Rockin’ soul
Influences: P-Funk, David Bowie, The Meters, Elton John, jazz
Main Instruments; Korg M1, EX-8000, MS-20 and Polysix, E-mu Proteus,
Roland U-220 and R-8, Alesis HR-16, Akai 2800, MOTU Performer w/Mac+
Contact: West Street Records, P.O.Box 20086 West Village Station, New
York, NY 10014 email: vghent@weststreetrecords.com
Web: http://valghent.com
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