Pop Diva Christina Bulatao Belts Out Nothin' But Love
With a name like Smuckers and a voice like Christina Bulatao, it HAS to be good. Okay, she doesn't jam or jelly on her new All About Love album, but then that's because, well, it's all about Love. It comes from the same wickedly confident, belting pop diva pipes that Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and but a few other too-rich women have been parading for years now. It's time for a new pitch to throw, however, and Christina Bulatao not only has the talent for competing against these stalwarts, but she knows how to pop.
All About Love is Christina's 4th album, written and produced by Chad Sharp and herself. The refreshing thing about this essentially ballad-filled album is the lack of cosmetics covering its musical face. You might call it minimalist pop with a shot of hip hop rhythm at times, but you're not getting a light show with this one. You're getting an intimate performance, as if the singer comes right up to your table, emitting the heartfelt words just for you and yours.
Also, it takes confidence to become completely naked to the listener. Don't you wonder why many actresses or young singers start out in the dance genre? They cloth themselves in sound upon sound, hoping that sheer movement and distortion will disguise the fact that what you're listening to is really a Name not a talent. Christina stands before you with nothing but a voice crooning 'All About Love' or giving strength to an already beautiful 'Songbird,' knowing that it is only song and singer that unite to make a truly uplifting experience. And she proves her worth 12 experiences out of 12.
The album took a year to complete, recorded at C-Sharp Productions in Mitchell, South Dakota, her current hometown. "Sometimes I write to a finished track that Chad puts together," says Christina. "I then write words and a melody. Other times we think of a melody and build off of that. I usually write about things I see happening around me."
The oldest of four kids, Christina was born and raised in Yankton, South Dakota. She was the oldest of four kids, raised by a single mom. They moved to Mitchell, SD in her freshman year in high school. Now she spends her time performing a vast array of material at local theatres, colleges, fairs, festivals and schools.
"I like to perform when I can connect with the people. I like to be able to see their faces, so we have done smaller, more intimate performances. My music seems to appeal to people of a lot of age groups, from young kids to older folks. Also, being from South Dakota there are not a ton of 'conventional' places to perform, so that makes us get out to the people in other ways."
Her live set usually includes original songs. "I do have two songs from AAL that I have been performing. 'Songbird' by Fleetwood Mac and 'Shine on Us' by Michael W. Smith. We are putting together a band and will be doing more shows with that. Up to this point I have done shows with keyboards or tracks backing me up."
When you listen to the CD, you'll realize it's The Voice that keeps her in constant demand. "I have never had any professional training. I was in my junior high and high school choirs. This gave me creative energy and was good practice. I also taught myself from listening to my favorite singers. Definitely. Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston were flooding the airwaves when I was younger. I would listen to the radio all the time.
"On the new CD I feel like I really had a chance to use my voice. We went into it knowing we wanted strong songs that I could really get into. The style is just the sound that my producer Chad Sharp and I have. I think we have a signature sound that comes naturally. There is such a variety of music in the market now, but I still think ours would stand out and still be mainstream. My other CDs had more production elements, but this time we wanted to let the songs breathe more."
The current work is literally panting. It's only right that a diva of this sort should go to the quieter side. If the songs herein don't move you, you're dead or think love is a kind of fish. "All About Love has a lot of powerful ballads on the CD. My other CDs had more upbeat pop songs. I also did two cover songs on 'All About...' I hadn't done that on the other CDs. My first CD, 'Destiny' was R&B, pop and dance.....all original. I called it 'Destiny' because I really feel music is my calling. The second CD, 'Feels Like Christmas' featured all traditional carols. My 3rd CD, 'Christina Bulatao' again had more urban pop, and it was like a journal of my life. All About Love is like a journal too, but it is more calm."
She has a long way to go in her career, but the talent is there, and that can't be faked. What are her dreams? "My dream is to be happy doing music full-time and as comfortably as possible. I sing because it is how I express myself, and I love doing it. It is just a blessing when I have a chance to share it with people."
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