Shara Strand

Shara StrandDon't you miss the days when female pop artists could really show their stuff?

I mean, don't get me wrong, there are a lot of fabulously talented female pop acts today, but it seems like the production has begun to really overshadow the talent. Auto-tuning, especially, has made it difficult to tell the quality acts from the manufactured packages.

That's what made discovering Shara Strand such a wonderful experience. Shara Strand is a throwback to the glory days of the female singer-songwriter, a mix of great voices throughout history, updated with a modern sound that makes her fit in perfectly in the current dance-pop scene. Her new EP, “Born Tonight,” should turn the heads of anyone who thinks that modern pop is in danger of fizzling out.

Shara Strand turns a standard five-song EP into a dizzying display of her musical qualities by including live acoustic versions of the same songs, arranged into sets. Whether you want upbeat, electronic production (courtesy of hot producers D1 Music) or a purely acoustic live demonstration of Shara Strand's voice and keyboard skills, it delivers both in spades.

No matter which 'side' of the album you listen to, Shara Strand's voice is the star of the show. With influences ranging from country to Mariah Carey, she swoops through an amazing range of styles and tones, from the spiritual-tinged I Will Carry You to the outright dance number Jekyll Or Hyde. She's cherry-picked bits and pieces of many of the best female vocalists of the last few decades and combined them into a surprisingly complete package.

On the acoustic side, the standout is her cover of Roseanne Cash's Seven Year Ache, which she turns into a pitch-perfect pop-country lament that would could be a legitimate crossover hit, equally at home on both sides of the music coin. If anything, her voice is only improved by the changeover to acoustic recording. Much like when Lady Gaga drops the production and just sings; stripping away the gloss reveals that Shara Strand is the real deal.

The Internet has made it easy to get into music, and there are a lot of wannabe pop princesses on the field at the moment. Shara Strand reminds the listener that musicianship in the world of dance-pop is not dead, and she stands ready to make a serious impact on the pop music industry.

Download Shara's exclusive track 'Groundhog Day'