Tucked away in the dimly lit vocal booth of producer Gabriel Mark Hasselbach’s recording studio in Vancouver, jazz vocalist Kinga Heming tapped into the powerful emotions that fill her newly released third album, “Forever in My Heart.” While tracking “The Very Thought of You” from the Great American Songbook, something clicked as she crooned the lyrics “Forever in my heart, the very thought of you.” Hasselbach knew instantly that he had uncovered the soul of the singer, the magic ingredient that makes her record special.
“That is the title of your album,” Hasselbach said to Heming about the first-round GRAMMY ballot contender for Jazz Vocal Album, “Forever in My Heart.”
Heming identifies herself as a singer and a storyteller. While the eight tunes she recorded for “Forever in My Heart” are standards, she selected each song because of her personal connection to each one.
“These were songs that were introduced to me at a very young age. Gabriel suggested that I choose songs that I feel reflect on my life. So, I chose the ones that I felt really connected to because, to be honest, when I sing a song, it’s not just singing a song. It’s not just reciting the lyrics to make it sound pretty. It’s me telling a story. And every single song on the record is me telling a story,” said the Polish-born Heming, who moved to Ottawa, Ontario in Canada when she was five and now resides in the small British Columbian town of Kelowna.
“When I sing songs, I never make myself emotional to the point of getting moved by a song. However, one of the songs on the album that does hold a soft spot in my heart is ‘Here’s to Life.’ When I sing it, I kind of felt like Johnny Mandel wrote that song for me. Lyrically, every single part of that song, it’s just me.”
Garnering airplay on Canadian radio from coast to coast, “Forever in My Heart” is an acoustic jazz vocal album. Heming’s elegant and graceful voice is embellished by Miles Black’s dramatic piano melodies and supple basslines, Joel Fountain’s genteel drumming and Hasselbach’s astute trumpet expositions. On “Nature Boy,” Heming’s exquisite voice rides the rhythmic groove etched by guitarist Loni Moger and upright bassist Bernie Addington with evocative shadowing emoted from Hasselbach’s muted trumpet.
Heming celebrated the album release last week by performing the material live at the Rotary Center for the Arts at the Mary Irwin Theatre in Kelowna where she shared the stage with Hasselbach, Black, Moger, Addington and drummer Tony Ferrero. Bonding with her audience as she tells her intimate stories through song is important to the singer.
“It’s me telling a story to everybody in the audience and for me to move an audience with my songs is even better,” Heming said before returning the focus to “Forever in My Heart.”
“At the end of the day, I know for myself, and from my own perspective, that I recorded this (album) from the bottom of my heart. That’s why I came up with ‘Forever in My Heart’; because every single part of that story is held forever in my heart.”
For more information, please visit https://www.kinga-jazz.com.