Claudie Lee, a 15-year-old singer/songwriter/actress, is set to return for an appearance on the CW drama Hart of Dixie which stars Rachel Bilson. The episode, “Tributes & Triangles”, airs tonight on CW at 9pm EST/8pm Central after a new episode of Gossip Girl.
Claudia Lee isn’t stopping there, though. Not so coincidentally, Lee will be releasing her debut country album on Tuesday, February 28th. I was actually given an advance copy of this album and gave it a listen. The young singer shows some definite potential here, but I’ll get to that in a bit. Before this, I actually used to be something of an amateur music critic. Thus, I only intended for the album to be a sidebar to this news piece, but my passion for music carried me away and I end up going much deeper than intended. But, again, you can read all that below.
To get back to the TV show portion, you can read a synopsis of tonight’s episode of Hart of Dixie below. There are also a couple of pictures included of Claudia Lee from the set of Hart of Dixie. All the album info follows.
George is named Bluebell’s Man of the Year, making everyone happy, except Brick whom wanted the title for himself. As the town’s mayor, Lavon is expected to host a cocktail party in George’s honor, but for obvious reasons this is a difficult situation for Lavon given his history with Lemon whom are trying to keep it a secret at any cost. Zoe agrees to step in and help Lavon organize the party, but things take a turn for the disastrous when Zoe has to improvise a speech at the gathering. Meanwhile, Magnolia begs Wade to write a song and perform it with her at the party as part of her agenda to get closer to him.
Now, for the album. Claudia Lee is releasing her new album this Tuesday. The album, “Here Right Now”, is the youngster’s debut country album. “Here Right Now” will be available on iTunes and Amazon. I gave the album a listen and it really was an interesting listen. You can actually check out the video for her first single “Hollywood Sunset” at the bottom of this article.
The album “Here Right Now” is interesting in that it show quite a range of styles. The album ranges from experimental genre-blends to conventional modern pop-country. This is really indicative of a young artist still trying to find her style. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t. However, that’s not to say there isn’t some silver-lining to the album. In fact, there are actually traces of almost brilliance.
As I mentioned, there are some “experimental” tracks on this album. Most notably, “3 Leaf Clover” and “Trading For Fun”. These tracks show a blend of genres, which illustrates that Claudia Lee actually does have the soul of a brave and daring artist. However, these “experimental” tracks tend to feel awkward (some more than others). Again, though, I believe this goes back to Lee being a young artist that is still working on polishing and honing her craft. She’s 15-years-old for crying out loud, she does deserve a break.
“3 Leaf Clover” features the young singer actually rapping on a track that combines hiphop with a pop ballad, mixed with country undertones. For me, this doesn’t work, namely because rapping calls for a whole other style of injecting emotion into your words which isn’t necessary for actually singing due to the help of a melody. In other words, it two very different styles and it’s clear that Claudia Lee is a singer, rather than a rapper.
Meanwhile, the second of the more experimental tracks, “Trading For Fun”, seemingly seeks to blend country with a pop-punk vibe. This works better than the hiphop/pop/country blend, as Lee feels much more comfortable here due to her singing rather than rapping. Personally, though, I’m not too into the track. Though, it should be noted here that I’m not at all the target demographic either. Clearly this album was written for teen girls and young women (of which I’m neither). That being said, I could actually see this having some appeal for the teen girls. I have to admit, it does have a rather catchy hook that could suck the young audience in. It’s also very clear here that Lee is having a blast. In fact, so as not to push Claudia Lee into a direction which finds her becoming pigeonholed, I would personally release this one as her next single.
The majority of the album does consist of conventional modern country music with pop tones. From the single “Hollywood Sunset” to “Take My Hand” to the title track “Here Right Now”, you’ll find your run-of-the-mill modern pop-country. None of these tracks are bad, they’re just not my thing. However, several are catchy enough that they definitely hold potential to appeal to the target demographic.
Beyond the experimental tracks which show Claudia Lee’s courage as an artist, there are a couple tracks which add some real depth to this album. Tracks such as “Old Man”, “Home At Last and “Papa’s Song” show that Lee possesses a wisdom and maturity beyond her years. Here’s where her potential superstardom shows. “Home At Last” gives a vibe that makes me feel it would feel absolutely at home on the soundtrack of a Disney animated film. “Old Man” and “Papa’s Song”, meanwhile, show that Lee really has potential to mature as an artist. These tracks are ones that have mass appeal beyond her target demographic. They show that this isn’t just a young girl who can sing songs for teenyboppers. And make no mistake about it, when she’s in her comfort zone, this girl has a very pretty voice. As I said, though, these latter tracks show that she has the potential and depth to grow from a teenybopper artist to one that could have a long and promising career in country music with the ability to make that transition to drawing in the adult audience. I imagine “Papa’s Song”, in particular, will be the cause of several tear-stained cheeks.
All in all, Claudia Lee can sing. The album isn’t bad and it should definitely appeal to its target audience, at least parts of it. However, there are flaws to it and a certain level of an amateur vibe to it. It’s certain the girl is honing her craft and this is evident in places throughout the album. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She’s young and she shows potential, but it does create a flawed lack of cohesiveness to the album as a whole.
That being said, I’ll be very interested to see how Claudia Lee grows as an artist. Despite it’s flaws and its niche demographic, there is still plenty to love here in terms of potential. As I stated before, Lee shows some definite depth that could be embraced and result in her having some real longevity to her career. The most impressive thing here, though, is her bravery as an artist. Despite the fact that I didn’t particularly care for her “experimental” tracks, they did show me one thing: Lee is an artist, not just a singer. This young girl has the heart and soul of a true artist. Daring and brave in her art, she has a real passion for music. A passion that she’s not afraid to explore and experiment with. This is the sign of the truest type of artist. The fact that she embraces this exploration and experimentation as she does, at such a young age no less, just shows signs of brilliance that could evolve into her being, not just a superstar, but a legend in her own right. This bravery and curiosity is what creates legends in the world of music.
She’s having fun with it, too, which is an absolute must. When she strays from that conventional style, you can just hear that she is having an absolute blast. This combination of maturity, depth, passion and artistic curiosity are the ingredients for something wonderful. My hope is just that the industry doesn’t dull her passion, chewing her up and spitting her out as it has done so many artists. Hopefully, her artistic creativity is not smothered in lieu of turning her into just another cookie-cutter country-pop singer for the sake of cashing in, because frankly she is good enough at doing that, that she could be a prime candidate for it. However, that’s too short-term thinking for an artist with potential such as Lee. Steer her away from that mainstream whitewashing and nurture her creativity and this young girl could be one of the greats given the opportunity.
As for now, it’s fun listening to an artist having so much fun with their music. Anyone that is open-minded enough to venture outside of their comfort-zone will find bits and pieces to appreciate here as this young girl makes her debut and has a blast doing it. However, mostly this will be an album that isn’t enjoyed much beyond the target demographic of teenage girls and young women. For that demographic, there’s some definite potential for appeal here and it’s something that I would definitely recommend checking out if you fall in that demographic or like this type of music. If for no other reason, it will be nice for that demographic to get to hear a singer with safe mainstream appeal to suck them in, but then a level of depth and creativity to show them what a true artist is like.
Here you can check out the first single from the album, “Hollywood Sunset”. This is one of Lee’s conventional and safe mainstream pop-country songs from the album.
Filed Under: TV News