Cross The Battleline
17-year-old Niki Dean from Leeds, Yorkshire,(U.K.) has been singing almost since the first day she learned to talk. She has packed a lot into her young life, having played lead roles in drama and musical productions like Billy Liar, Whistle Down the Wind, Jesus Christ Superstar, Oliver, Joseph And His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and the lead in the highly-acclaimed coal mining musical, 'Pit Stop,' that enjoyed a record breaking run at the Leeds Civic Theatre, not to mention several television commercials, played Fran in ITV Children's television series 'The Ward' and performed on Yorkshire Television's Talent Of Tomorrow show.
winner of the Rising Star category of last year's(2000) HMV British
Country Music Awards, Niki first made the headlines just a year before
when Joe Galante, head of RCA Nashville, invited her to attend a live
audition for his A&R team. Auditions followed at Warner Bros. Nashville
along with meetings with several major producers and label heads. Niki
has also opened at concerts for Don William's, Beth Nielsen Chapman,
Jennifer Weatherly, Karen Lynne and
Gail Davies, who has become a personal friend since taking the youngster
under her wing.
Produced by Gail Davis, who also provided 4 of the ten songs on here, "Cross The Battleline" is an album of modern, pop/country music, as you would expect from a 17 year old who lists Shania Twain among her favourite artists. But where Shania has drained all the country out of her music and gone totally over to Pop, Niki leaves enough country in there for the album to still be of interest to country music fans.
The album kicks off with the funky, "Like A Rocket," before the first of the 4 songs penned by the multitalented Gail Davies. With a strong, acoustic rhythm intro, "Holdin' Out For You" is a lively, very catchy tune that is sure to have the linedancers filling the dance-floors.
Other Gail Davies penned tracks on here include the energetic, "I Need My Baby Back" a track that puts the excellent musician's on the album through their paces......just love that harmonica.......and one I think would be a certain hit if released as a single. "Never Cross That Line," one of only two ballad's on the album, is about falling in love with someone who is already taken............Niki puts her heart and soul into this to deliver a wonderful, reading that Gail must surely have been enthralled with......and "A Boy Like You" a lively tune, that is sure to have most appeal for the younger, country/pop fans.
The albums title track "Cross The Battleline," is a lively country/rocker penned by Karen Staley, that has already been a hit in EMS European Country Music charts, and Nashville singer/songwriter Gretchen Peters also get's in the writers credits, providing the punchy, "Heart Of Stone," a song that....if my memory serves me right......was a hit in the Billboard charts some time ago.
up the rest of this fine debut album are "When
You Love Somebody," another that should suit the linedancers,
"The Riverside," second of the two ballad's on here
and the albums closer, "Prove It," probably
the most pop orientated of all the tracks on here."
There is absolutely no doubt that this is a fine album from the young Niki Dean. True, it isn't Traditional country music, but who would expect that from a 17 year old girl from Yorkshire!!! I must admit, when reading that she was influenced by Shania Twain, I expected very little country music on the album. But I was very pleasantly surprised to find this wasn't so. Niki has a powerful voice.........very well suited to Country Music.......that belies her young age and puts plenty of feel and emotion into all the songs on here.
Dean has to be one of the brightest lights on the U.K. Country Music
scene today and surely must have an excellent chance of going on to
much bigger things. All I hope is that she doesn't follow Shania's lead
away from Country and into the Pop market.
To find out more about Niki Dean, visit her website; www.nikidean.com