STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 34550-19235 LABEL: Gotee 6249820 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2009-02-27 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Tim Holden
This came out in 2008 but only now has Cross Rhythms got its hands on a copy. Stephanie's debut outing heads straight for the somewhat crowded teen pop/rock market and manages to hold its head up high. Her voice suits the fast tempo rock numbers without the shouty edge that is so common and manages the ballads admirably as well. Stephanie's songwriting has its heart on its sleeve and it is quite obvious that these songs come from the heart. There is a nice mix of teen angst ("Beauty"), real life ("First Words" and "What If I Make A Mistake") and worship ("You Alone") all delivered with slick production and catchy arrangements. It is very easy to find similarities with all sorts of artists in this field, from Pink through Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson to Rebecca St James, but Stephanie comes out as herself, not a clone, and delivers some great teen pop/rock with loads of spiritual depth. A very refreshing change.
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When Stephanie Smith got her first glimpse of the father she’d desperately missed all of her 14 years, her heart was in her throat. She waited breathlessly as he greeted her mother and her brother, then finally turned to Stephanie. But his words were anything but the healing she’d dreamed of for so long. He said, “And this must be Priscilla?”. In the aftermath of that meeting, Stephanie processed a great many life lessons. Her compelling redemption story drives the hope-drenched lyrics and gutsy honesty of Not Afraid, a debut overflowing with solid pop rock anthems, all written or co-written by Stephanie. On the stunningly vulnerable piano ballad “First Words,” she opens up about that first encounter with her father. Producer Chris Stevens, known for his work with Tobymac, Sanctus Real, and Group 1 Crew, added his hand to the standout "Renew Me".