People often speak of the world-wide influence of blues and jazz, but it takes an artist like Nina Massara to really prove the point. This Danish artist grew up in Copenhagen with a Danish mother and American father, listening to Keb Mo’, Taj Mahal and Bob Dylan. Her father catered the backstage food for artists like Little Feat and Jerry Lee Lewis. Massara absorbed all those influences. At 15, she helped out in the studio of Morten Wittrock, a famous Danish producer. At 18, she was serving drinks and DJ’ing at Copenhagen’s Mojo Blues Bar. Now she is 21, and it’s time to see what all those musical influences created in her.
What they have created with Massara’s debut album, Watch Me, is something quite wondrous. First of all, it is pure Americana. Massara sounds as though she could be singing in a jazz or blues club of the 30’s or 40’s, moving into the 50’s for a rocker like “Crazy.” She is full of sass and attitude, defying anyone to tell her what she can or can’t do in “Watch Me,” and putting a man in his place in “You Ain’t Up To It,” for instance. The contrast of all that attitude and her sweet, somewhat girlish voice is extremely effective and sounds very fresh.
All nine songs on the album were written for Massara by producer Wittrock and Ray weaver, and they fit her voice and style perfectly. There are no sad songs or slow ballads here. It’s just Massara letting us know that she’s a “Full Grown Woman,” who can make a man “Crazy” especially when she finds him “Impossible To Resist.”
She is backed by a hot band, too, including former members of the Band of Heathers. Horns, piano, harmonica ,guitar, it all blends into a rocking, jazzy party that complements but never overwhelms that distinctive voice.
Nina Massara. Remember that name. And listen to Watch Me. It’s like being hit by a really sweet hurricane.