“Two albums and both are instant masterpieces!
There are equal parts magic and mystery throughout the music that traverse many styles, genres and expressions. Chants are interspersed amongst devotional ballads that chronicle a profound and personal spiritual journey. From the very first notes of the title track, “Awaken Me,” you can feel that Haynes is leading the listener into a space of great reverence. The message of the album is hopeful, worshipful, and above all, one of personal growth and empowerment.”
On her new album, Awaken Me, vocalist Kimberly Haynes paints musical portraits from a diverse palate of influences that include new age, folk, soft pop, world music, and more. Her expressive voice ranges from soft to soaring with thoughtful and inspiring lyrics that touch the heart and illuminate the spiritual quest. Subtitled: “Songs from the Heart of a Seeker,” the spectrum of her eclectic and enlightening vocal performances evokes both the tenderness of a mother’s touch and the ancient feminine power of a tribal priestess singing her truth for the betterment of the community.
For Kimberly, the connection between music and spirituality began at an early age. From the time she was old enough, she was featured as a singer in church choirs. As a young teenager, Kimberly began to study voice, guitar, and songwriting, and was later placed in her high school’s gifted music program. By the age of 17 she began studio singing and had been featured in television appearances and radio interviews within her Christian community. As time went on, Kimberly delved into the world of jazz and big band music as influenced by artists such as Doris Day, Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. By the time she was in her early twenties as she took part in a multitude of recording projects as well as performing in Japan, Denmark and a variety of Los Angeles nightclubs as well as attending the Musicians Institute in Hollywood to study jazz vocals, vocal improvisation and songwriting. At a point along the way, Kimberly began to give back by helping to develop the talents of up and coming singers as a vocal coach.
While these experiences had a tremendous influence and built a strong foundation, Kimberly’s life was also marked by many difficulties and hardships. In her words: “Having risen from my own ashes multiple times, it is my mission to carry music of the heart into the world. My life and my music are richer and deeper for the challenges I have overcome, and my songs are a reflection of my personal journey from brokenness to wholeness.” The above-mentioned connection between music and spirit is a thread that has been woven through Kimberly’s life and she later embarked on an intensive study of sacred music and healing practices from around the world, including Peruvian shamanism. Also, in 2004, she began an apprenticeship as a cantorial soloist and started leading the prayer services alongside the rabbi for a local synagogue, which she now continues to do once or twice a month. Kimberly shares, “It was here that I first learned what it means to be the one who raises their voice on behalf of the community, inviting the Divine into their midst.”
Kimberly Haynes has made something here that is truly wonderful in all aspects of its creation, one can create a beautiful album, but it’s even more special when that creation is born from the passion of a heart felt truth. Vito Gregoli has done a supreme job in producing this release and using the talents of Tina Malia, Christo Pellani, Peter Kater, Jesus Florido and Byron Metcalf was a stoke of utter genius, if this album isn’t a massive global hit, there is no justice in the music business anymore, this is an album that everyone should have.
There’s a certain polish to this set that separates it from the schmata queen world/jazz sets of the early 70s when seekers roamed the planet spreading their insights like spiritual Johnny Appleseeds. Haynes has put her time and money where her mouth is to craft a healing music set just right for the car stereo of today’s stressed helicopter mom ferrying the kids from here to there badly in need of some me time. It takes one to know one? This sounds like a right on audio getaway that’s must hearing while waiting for soccer practice to end. Check it out. “
THE RUDE-IMENTARY TRUTH
KIMBERLY HAYNES – AWAKEN ME (2016 / WISE OLD OWL RECORDS)
Normally, I steer clear of anything seeming to indicate surreally high glucose factors, a persistant problem in the New Age genre, so, at first I found myself a tad trepidatious of Kimbery Haynes’ Awaken Me: Songs from the Heart of a Seeker merely through the cliché title. I’m by nature crusty and cynical, far more in Barbara Ehrenreich’s anti-brightsiding camp than Lisa Garr’s goopy Miracles For Auction venues, and so approach many music releases with an arch glare, sometimes snorting, often red-eyed, and occasionally even vitriolic…until I accidentally fall into beauty and lay insensate on the floor, helpless, a big goofy smile creasing my formerly tightlipped mug,”‘ooohs” and “ahhhs” issuing contentedly from narcotized brain and mouth, sighs following close by. Verrrrry embarrassing for a card-carrying member of the He-Man Critics Club!
But that’s what happened as the very first cut of this disc, the title track, floated out of the speakers and into my unsuspecting ears, arising from a bell tone into melisma and thence lyrics in Haynes’ gentle, soothing, wistful, and haunting voice. A cross between Eva Cassidy, Joni Mitchell, Kate St. John, Kate Bush, Annie Haslam, and any number of honey-voices chanteuses, not only are her deliveries satiny and mellifluous but this woman can boast excellent compositional skills as well, the lion’s share of the cuts hers (a few in collaboration and then John Farrar’s “You’re the One I Want”). That’s Haynes’ key, that ability to write authenticity and gravity into the melodics, even the most ethereal numbers.
The Joni Mitchell similarities are numerous, based in a blend of cosmic, country, folk, transcendent, and mello-rock styles, but these do not constitute everything, clearly understood when she reachesresplendent passions in “My Heart Knows the Way”, “Do I Dare”, and elsewhere. At every point, sincerityrings through, and the two constituents, the vocal and instrumental elements, serve as bolsters to eachother in the subtlest but most suffused of ways. A number of sessioneers craft highly supportiveempathic washes of notes around her, and it’s something of a surprise to find Haynes started very young as a Christian gospel singer influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, Doris Day, and others.
She then moved on to apprentice as a cantorial solist at a local synogogue before entering into a long study Peruvian shamanic practices, Eastern philosophies, world religions, and so on. Ms. Haynes describes her music as sets of devotionals and prayers, but I do not agree, not much caring for propitiation (prayer) or the odd practice of worship (devotional). What I do like is truth and art, and her truths are sound enough while her artistry is extremely attractive, the two marrying in a compelling result capturing first the ear, then the mind, then the heart.
FAVE CUTS: “Do I Dare”, both mixes; the Earth Mix is the instrumental version of the vocal original, with background vocals retained, and quite hypnotizing, progressive, a cut that could’ve gone on and on and on for hours without the least complaint from me.
Congratulations on a great job.
~~ Michael Mayer, Vocal Wisdom
She is a wonderful and deserving artist and their collaboration is inspiring and magical…I can’t wait to follow in their footsteps down the road!!
In “Light of My Soul”, Kimberly Haynes generously shares a secret with us.
It an intimate and honest viewpoint from within her soul, sharing the brilliant light that shines within her.
It’s beautiful in its simplicity and honesty, an unadorned but powerful message that each of us can have that power and light if we simply take the time to find it.
Beautifully sung and produced, this song promises us an album that will both illuminate and inspire. ~~ Al Jewer
Kimberly Haynes’ “Light of My Soul” is a heartfelt expression of inner grace in song, of finding the path to let light her shine – which she surely does.
Kimberly’s voice, is beautiful, fluid and uplifting to the ear, such that it allows one to be transported easily and joyfully to those uppermost realms – as a bird reaches and soars for higher climbs of light.
It is a magical song, at times I heard a whisper of Joni Mitchell or Sarah McLachlan perhaps but, in the end it is Kimberley’s own unique voice and expression that leaves its imprint. The production is as lyrical and inspired as the artist and the song itself, so kudos to David Vito Gregoli. I am truly looking forward to hearing the whole album and their creative journey. So glad that the support of many has allowed for a way to let this body of work be made – for the world is bound to embrace and love it!
Shout out and support to KH. I have had the honor of sitting w/ her in c and hearing her amazing angleic healing voice – a transmission of light and love and true healing.
To support her and see her bring her gift and vision to the world in a full length album, well, its more than just making her dream come true, its really ushering in light, healing, love and beauty so needed in our world.
I believe that the more people we have doing what she’s doing the more light and love we will all have lifting us all up.”
I have another review for you from the music I received from the ZMRs. This comes from another digital download card I received from a beautiful vocalist her name is Kimberly Haynes. She has a very captivating voice.
One that I really enjoyed listening to. She also has a wonderful story about her journey to share her music with us.
The song I listened to is ” Light of My Soul”. She reminds me a little bit of Carly Simon.
The song is a personal account of her finding the light within. I really enjoyed the uplifting message, and the production is well done.
I’ve played it on my big sound system and right now I am listening again via my computer.
Truly a joy to listen to. She currently has a Kickstarter project. If you like what you hear, join her project! Good luck Kimberly, and thank you for sharing with me!
Kimberly is an amazing soul. An amazing woman. An amazing spirit. The music is glorious.
She has the voice of an angel (…from sweet to fiery,) and she is not just a singer.
She has crafted these words and created these melodies which are deep and original.