Alma Naidu | Alma Review
by Stamish Malcuss
Alma Naidu is a singer, pianist, composer, and lyricist based in Munich, Germany, where she has been described as ‘one of the most promising singers on the German scene’ by Süddeutsche Zeitung. Music has always been in her life as her father is a conductor and her mother an opera singer. Naidu studied jazz singing at the University of Music and Theatre in Munich and at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she studied with the renowned singer and ECM artist Norma Winstone. At the Gasteig competition, she won Jugend jazzt, the Kurt Mass Jazz Award, BMW Welt Young Artist Jazz Award, and the Bavarian Prize for Emerging Artists. Naidu is now releasing her promising debut on the Leopard Records label called Alma. This debut work was recorded in Bonn during the pandemic (November 2020, March, and April 2021) and featured guests performers Dominic Miller, Nils Landgren, Simon Oslender, and others.
“Wondering” features a guest appearance by Argentine-born guitarist Dominic Miller, best known for his performances with Sting. Miller’s nylon-strung guitar pairs beautifully with Naidu’s warm romantic singing tone and style. The gentle mood fits the lyrics, imagery, and message. Naidu’s lyric writing is insightful and reflects both tension and optimism. Likewise, Miller’s solo is lyrical and backed by soft string sounds and Naidu’s flowing vocalization.
“Hold on To Me” offers a more energetic glimpse into Naidu’s talent in a program otherwise framed mostly by ballads and gentle smooth jazz. This song has layered vocal harmonies and a feel that crosses jazz with pop sensibilities. Naidu’s lyrics are beautiful and flow well with her well-written melody. The song crescendos in density of vocal parts and instrumental activity, making for an arching listening experience that is stirring. Naidu’s scatting is controlled and framed in sturdy intonation and rhythmic precession.
Alma is a strong debut and shows that Naidu’s singing, and songwriting are something unique and special. Her lyrics revolve around nature and romance and her melodies flow with her romantic singing style. Alma is produced by jazz and funk drummer Wolfgang Haffner and is a debut that has been created to show Naidu’s outstanding vocal talent.