Back in 2002, producer David Foster oversaw the debut disc of a young jazz/pop singer named Michael Bublé. With his handsome looks and Sinatra-like voice, Bublé quickly saw his star begin to rise and the success of his disc kicked off a mini-revival of old standards and big band singers. Striking while the iron was hot, Foster fed the flame by introducing an even younger female counterpart to Bublé. Reneé Olstead was a 14-year-old actress mostly known for her co-starring role in the CBS television series Still Standing, but while acting has been her day job since childhood, Olstead has also dabbled in music. Unlike Bublé, who was studying classic songs at a young age with his grandfather, Olstead first latched onto traditional country music and at the age of ten and released Stone Country, which found her singing mediocre tunes in a hiccuped, down-home accent. Four years and a 180-degree turn later, Olstead discovers her inner ingénue with the assistance of Svengali Foster and released her major label debut of pop and jazz standards. The results have the same lovely, glossy sheen that Foster tweaked to perfection on Natalie Cole's Unforgettable album, and Olstead's newfound voice is a vast improvement from her faux twang days. With a voice that is reminiscent of Nicole Kidman's singing debut in Moulin Rouge, Olstead sounds more like a young, bubbly starlet than a newly discovered diva. There is no question that she has a pretty voice and is more than capable of performing undemanding standards like "Taking a Chance on Love," however, her voice lacks the depth and experience truly needed to tackle more difficult song like "Summertime" or "Sunday Kind of Love." In taking on Barry Manilow's "Meet Me, Midnight" she dives in with gusto but ends up barely treading water mid-song with a scat section that sounds uncomfortable and forced. Age is certainly a factor in making these songs sound convincing and, for the most part, Foster smartly chose songs that do not reach too far beyond her young years. This helps to make a song like "Someone to Watch Over Me" sound like a sweet, teenage fairy tale. On the other hand, the sensuality of Maria Muldaur's "Midnight at the Oasis" is far too mature for her to grasp at this time. She does much better on the Norah Jones-styled original "A Love That Lasts" as the song's quiet demeanor compliments Olstead's vocals, making her sound comfortable and natural. It is going to take more time and experience for her to sound as convincing on songs like "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby," but Foster has given her a great crash course and that helps to make her debut disc a pleasant listen. Reneé Olstead has a solid foundation from which to work and if she can continue building up from there, she just might have to set aside her acting career for a while.
|Label:||Reprise / Wea|
Performance CreditsReneé Olstead Primary Artist,Vocals
Alan Broadbent Piano
Brian Bromberg Bass
Billy Childs Piano
Jeff Hamilton Drums
Rick Baptist Trumpet,Soloist
Chris Botti Trumpet,Guest Appearance
Dennis Budimir Guitar
John Clayton Bass
Vinnie Colaiuta Drums
Joe La Barbera Drums
Warren Luening Trumpet
Dean Parks Acoustic Guitar
David Tull Drums
Carol Weisman Vocals,Guest Appearance
Chris Dawson Piano
Don Shelton Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Billy Childs Trio Piano
Peter Cincotti Piano,Vocals
Gerald Clayton Piano
Don Shelton Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Technical CreditsGeorge Gershwin Composer
Louis Prima Composer
Neil Sedaka Composer
Barry Manilow Composer
Louis Jordan Composer
Jeremy Lubbock String Arrangements
David Foster Producer,Audio Production
Vernon Duke Composer
María Mendez Grever Composer
Frank Loesser Composer
Stanley Adams Composer
Oscar Castro-Neves Arranger
John Clayton Arranger
Humberto Gatica Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Ira Gershwin Composer
Bud Green Composer
Howard Greenfield Composer
Ben Homer Composer
John Latouche Composer
David Nichtern Composer
Fred Norman Arranger
Alejandro Rodriguez Engineer
Bruce Sussman Composer
Julian Peploe Package Art Direction
Bill Austin Composer
Barbara Belle Composer
Ted Fetter Composer
Carol Weisman Arranger,Vocal Arrangements
Dorothy Heyward Composer
Billy Childs Trio Arranger
Neil Devor Programming,Engineer
Ellen Wakayama Art Direction
Linda Thompson Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Such a pleasure!. This voice as it matures should go down with the greats such as Nancy Wilson, Dakota Staton and others of that era. It's hard to believe that this 14 year old voice can project that kind of emotion. Meet Me, Midnight, amazing. Who knew that a 14 year old knew what scat was, much less lay down a scat line.
I listened to the entire CD collection online (Renee's website) and fell in love with her voice. She is truly a wonderful singer, especially for her age! I plan to go out and get the CD for my own collection. It is truly wonderful to hear.
OUTSTANDING!! TERRIFIC..I NEVER TIRE OF LISTENING TO HER INCREDIBLE VOICE!!!! A WINNER, AND A MUST HAVE FOR JAZZ FANS.
Renee Olstead's CD is really great. Jazz with a twist, I give this CD two thumbs up and would suggest buying it!
I first heard Renee sing on Still Standing and I could not tell if it was her singing or not, but the voice stayed wth me. Then I was watching Princess Diaries 2 a few years ago and heard A Love That Will Last and I could not get the song out of my head. One day I googled the movie's sound track and played the song, then I googled Renee. I had no idea it was the same person until I played Summertime and then it hit me. She's AWESOME!!! Her voice is so soulful and rich. It's hard to believe that she is so young. Renee took classic music that she probably heard her parents play and made then her own and she did a great job. I think what a like the most about Renee's music is you can tell she feels what she singing, it's soulful so in turn I feel what she's singing. That is so important to me when I listen to music and there are only a handful of singers that I can say that about. I mostly listen to jazz (instrumental) but Renee has definetly been added to my list of greats. I can't wait to see what she does next.
Just discovered Renee' Olstead! Why isn't everyone talking about Renee' Olstead? Awesome voice, style & wonderful feeling for the music. Would like to see more of her & eager for the next CD.
This is an absolutely amazing collection of music from a singer who will be HUGE in the very near future. I bought one for my own collection and three more for gifts (two for Father's Day). Miss Olstead's voice is rich, sultry, and intoxicating. I'm a fan from way back!
Ms Olstead has one of the most amazing voices I have heard in ages. I never tire of listening to the exquisite range and control this young lady has. I am looking forward to more from her.
If ever there were a debut album to set the bar ridiculously high for other young singers it's gotta be Renee Olstead's self-titled CD. To get an idea how amazing Olstead's talent is, take the soaring voice of Eva Cassidy, mix it with the sultry sound of Norah Jones, add in the sweetness of Doris Day and top it with the verve of Christina Aguilera ... and that's just where Renee's exceptionally nuanced style begins. Though she's still in high school (!) her singing career is about to take off like a rocket. She's already been pegged for superstardom by savvy music industry insiders who know a phenomenal talent when they hear one. Several of the songs will be break-out hits if given adequate airplay, especially her captivating remake of Maria Muldaur's "Midnight at the Oasis." If "Renee Olstead" doesn't collect an armful of Grammies I will be flabbergasted!
At age 14, Renee is a vocal masterpiece. She redefines the classic jazz standards with a style that is all her own.
Renee Olstead is absolutely gifted. I love every single song on her CD. This is what Mariah Carey should be doing. I'm willing to bet that Renee Olstead is on her way to becoming a big star. I can't wait 'til she puts out her next CD.
She is totally amazing. Her appeal will be to all ages.
Love her voice...I have to play it over and over again...I keep watching for her next CD..hope to see more of her on TV!!
I watch Renee' on Still Standing and enjoy her acting as well as the show itself..Her voice is unbelievable and I know she has a great future ahead of her.I wish her the very best.
Awesome, she makes beautiful music. So relaxing.
I first heard this CD while in a Barnes and Noble store. I bought it on the spot. This CD is geat!