"For an R&B vocalist to capture your attention even before you capture the melody is a testament to the strength and full bodied presence of that vocalist. Newcomer Gianna Welling, aka Gianna is such a vocalist" is what Ronald Jackson of smoothvibes.com says of this Tulsa, Oklahoma native. The daughter of a professional bass player and arranger, Gianna has always had music pumping through her veins. She was raised on the sweet and smooth sounds of Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Roberta Flack. This girl has soul in her soul!
Educated at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, Gianna quickly became a hot item as a session singer for some of the top recording artists and producers (Wynona Judd, Dolly Parton, Disney Productions). After spending time in Nashville, Gianna had the opportunity to move to Houston, TX to begin working as a session and jingle singer. She quickly became one of the most recognized and sought after Jazz /Soul/R&B vocalists in the Houston area. The Houston Chronicle described Gianna as having "the look of a star in the making". High praise indeed.
In 2007, Gianna was turned on to the sound of brothers Kendall and Kelvis Duffie, the Soul/R&B duo Kloud 9. Their music and Kendall’s formidable credentials and track record as a producer(Incognito, The Isley Brothers, Maysa, Vickie Yohe) paralleled with Gianna’s musical aspirations. Immediately a meeting was set and this fateful meeting began the collaboration of Gianna’s first full record, "Something True", (Expansion Records, London) co written and produced by Kendall Duffie. The acclaimed album debuted in 2009 at #12 on the UK soul chart and quickly rose to #5. By the end of the year, "Something True" and 2 singles from the album ended up on 3 of the UK's "best of 2009" charts. Songs from the album are still in heavy rotation and the remixes continue to be dance floor fillers. "Something True has unquestionably emerged as one of 2009's best received releases within today's ever discerning modern soul fraternity", Peter Lewis, Blues and Soul Magazine
More recently, Gianna has unplugged and stripped down on a new acoustic soul/jazz/folk project. She is collaborating with song writer guitarist Kenny Cordray (Jaco Pastorius, David Foster, Jerry Lee Lewis, and writer of the ZZ Top smash hit "Francine") and song writer drummer/percussionist/guitarist Todd Harrison (Kirk Whalum, Joshua Redman, Clark Terry, and drummer for the US Army Jazz Ambassadors). Gianna's thought provoking lyrics, paired with the contemplative melodies and stellar grooves of Harrison and Cordray, are proving to be her most innovative songwriting thus far. This group has a sound that truly sets them above the rest. In the end, however, there is no denying that it is Gianna's superb vocal performances that move audiences of all ages and stages of life.
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Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.
I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.
My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."