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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Raiana Paige - One Girl's Story (1994)

Recently I was looking for the latest album by KHZ, a Latin hard rock/industrial band fronted by Raiana Paige, a lovely half-Puerto Rican, half-Italian singer. (Yes, I do like that kind of music. I love a bit of everything. ;) I knew that Raiana had a history in freestyle music, but I didn't know that in the mid-90s she released a solo album on an indie label. Of course, once I learned this I had to have it, and I immediately ordered it off of eBay, with the intention of posting it here for you all. And here it is! Raiana was born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx. Though the details regarding the beginning of her music career remain vague, it is clear that she did get the attention of Sleeping Bag Records, who, along with Cutting, were probably the most successful freestyle label by the late 1980s. In 1988 she released her first freestyle single, "Open Up Your Heart", produced by none other than Andy "Panda" Tripoli, who'd had huge club success with The Cover Girls, Sa-Fire and Nayobe, among others. The song reached #10 on the Billboard Dance Chart and led to a follow-up single in 1990, "Rescue Me", also on Sleeping Bag. Despite being produced by Albert Cabrera, another popular freestyle producer who also worked with Sa-Fire and The Cover Girls, the song didn't manage to do as well and only reached #27 on the dance chart. This ended Raiana's run with the label, and it took three more years for her to release another single. "You're My Only Man" was released on London Records in 1993, and was produced by yet another freestyle producer extraordinaire, Carlos Berrios, famous for his "new freestyle" hits with Corina and Lisette Melendez. The song failed to chart at all, however, likely due to the fact that freestyle music had fallen out of public favour and was taking it's last gasp. It appears that Raiana was also over the freestyle sound, as a year later she released her only solo album, and it was pure rock. This was probably the type of music she wanted to sing in the first place, as she sites The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd as influences in the liner notes. Their influence is obvious in the music, which is mostly atmospheric downtempo rock, and the album features her vocals much better than her freestyle tracks did. The album's producer Eddie Frenté had done some mixing and production on "You're The Only Man", but he clearly also appreciated the rock direction Raiana wanted to go, so much so that the two formed the group KHZ in New York soon after. KHZ's first EP appeared in 1996, and they have released four albums since. The musical direction went even further into the rock genre, embracing heavy metal and industrial, with touches of trip hop. Raiana's vocals are much more powerful and she often breaks into guttural wails. (Her stylistic trajectory is actually quite similar to Tairrie B, former member of previous postees Bardeux.) KHZ have remained quite successful within their genre and are still active. They just released a DVD of their videos and will soon release a double album of rarities. (For more info go to their website.) So as you can see, Raiana is proof that you can't judge a failed "pop tart" by her cover, as she may surprise you with something completely different and actually find success with it.

Live performance of Love & Emotion (Thanks to Victor Stemple for this. ;)

Download One Girl's Story

1
Running Waters
2
One Girl's Story
3
Love & Emotion
4
Love & Emotion (Pt. II)
5
The Clown (Gonna' Need A Little Love)
6
I'll Be There
7
Tomorrow Never Happened
8
Scattered Thoughts
9
No Toys To Take Away
10
End Of Innocence
11
One Girl's Story (Pt. II)

9 comments:

  1. Hey, I'm a friend of Raiana's. I liked what you wrote, so I showed her your entry. She liked it too. :)

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  2. Awesome! Thanks for showing it to her. So glad she likes it. Give her my love!

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  3. This link is dead ... where can i get it?

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    1. I can't find the CD at the moment, but when I do I'll reup it. ;)

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    2. OK, found it - it's been reupped. ;)

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  4. There is a note for Raina here... If you can pass it on to her!! I thought it would be nice , she help influence this person... I think its the top comment! Thanks
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YjmRK3dhFY

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  5. This is really good !! Who plays the guitar ?

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  6. What a pleasant surpise. This is not a good album this is excellent, a real overlooked gem. Or rahter another album that could/should have been a classic

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