Naomi Striemer: Green Album

Naomi Striemer: Green Album
Title: Green Album
Label: CD Baby

There aren't a lot of us who can claim among our MySpace friends the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Michael Buble, Bryan Adams and A Fine Frenzy. But emotive singer/songwriter Naomi Striemer stands tall alongside her fellow Canadian compatriots. Her 2007 S Records album "Images" attracted the likes of Grammy winners Carlos Santana, Narada Michael Walden and Mario Winans as participants on the record. As a teen, she also wowed then Epic Records president Polly Anthony-who championed Celine Dion through the late '90s-and offered Striemer a contract on the spot after hearing her sing. Ironically, looking back at her childhood, there were few pointers that she was destined to become an entertainer. Raised in Malagash, Nova Scotia, with a population of under 1,000, her parents-both former entertainment industry honchos, her dad a band manager and mom a booking agent-shunned the business and raised their daughter under strict religious rule. Young Naomi was so sheltered that she knew nothing of radio or TV until she was 10. "I was completely unaware of their previous world, and a trusting child who wasn't particularly curious," Striemer says. "We would play tapes in the car, either classical music or folk bible songs and sermons; that was the only world I knew." Her career launched humbly at the age of 14-after she began singing in church at 7 and was encouraged by her choir director-when a demo she sold in regional churches spurred interest from Christian label Sparrow Nashville. But Striemer declined, determined to reach the broader secular audience. She then met with Transcontinental founder Lou Pearlman, who propelled Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync to fame. He wanted to place the singer in a girl group. Again she said no. At 18, she at last found her fit: performing for Epic's Anthony. Striemer was offered a contract with Epic on Valentine's Day 2001. She recorded what was to be her debut album and the wheels were in motion for cover artwork, the first single, a video... and then two weeks before release, Sony downsized. Anthony and all of Striemer's advocates were pink-slipped and the album fell into the major label black hole. She returned to Canada, understandably sulking until she was fed up with the pity party. Striemer told Billboard in a 2007 profile, "Pain is good because it forces you to explore what's inside. A lot of my voice didn't come out until the anger of the Sony situation. I began singing out of hurt instead of trying to be technically perfect. I began to write for me, therapeutically." She recorded a new album and with little money, each song merited no more than two takes: "We did the project in six hours," she says. "It wasn't about technicality, it was about emotion. I wanted this. If I set my mind to it, I knew I could achieve it." She then began performing in Canada, and was soon discovered again by a man determined to form a label around her. The fledgling record label contacted Walden, believing that the producer's track record-Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin and his Grammy-lauded contribution to "The Bodyguard" soundtrack-was an ideal match for Striemer's inherent passion. Walden agreed to record one song with Striemer, which "I loved. It was a beautiful experience for me," he says, "so we agreed to do more." That led to producing all 17 tracks on "Images" (four were co-produced with Winans, whom Striemer worked with before aligning with Walden). The overall imprint of the disc was lush, mature pop, with a regal tapestry of all live instruments at Walden's insistence. Striemer's exalting and intimate vocals, distinctive phrasing and masterful, visual lyrics are indeed a mighty reminder of her heroes-Celine, Mariah and Whitney-but her vocal stamp is wholly her own. And physically, she possesses the indefinable "it" qualities of a star: magnetism, grace, empathy and innate beauty. Walden offers, "If anything, her sound is more alternative or gothic rock with the power of a Celine Dion." Highlights of the album include the haunting piano-driven title track, which opens with the lyric, "I found out today my love has found another/And all the things I did to make you happy won't make you happy anymore," as Striemer laments amid urgent percussion, "If I could fight my way back to you/It would only throw me further away." "Fall Behind" is Striemer's take on her lost contract at Epic, and yet it speaks to the world about loss. She sings, "What's happening/I feel the world slipping apart before my eyes," amid an inflamed backdrop of electric guitars and howling vocal of defiance. Shimmering power ballad "Cars" uses the lyrical allegory of counting passing vehicles as she waits for her AWOL man-an allusion to universal diligence in the search for love: "In life, we wait for that one person that is meant for us," Striemer explains. "They may be with someone else now, but you hold out hope that they exist, so you put on a brave face and wait." Santana's contribution to the single came about when the record label CEO, Walden and Striemer-and, by himself, Santana-were having dinner in San Francisco during the recording of the project in April 2005, and Santana was invited to join them at the table. Later Santana was asked if he would listen to "Cars" and consider adding his magical guitar to the track. It took one spin-he said yes. A man highly versed in the spirituality of music, Santana says, "My recording experience was wonderful. It was like being present at a baptism, giving new birth to new light. Like many great artists and great songs, Naomi and 'Cars' inspires in people the force of compassion and hope." Striemer's first North American press came in September 2007 via a spotlight single review in Billboard for debut single "Cars"-where it was described as "the year's most promising melodic debut; a standing ovation of an endorsement. Remember the first time you heard Whitney, Mariah or Celine and recognized a star was born?' A page 1 piece in Canada's national newspaper "National Post" followed, then features on the CTV national news and "Entertainment Tonight," a lifestyle front in Canada's "Globe and Mail," a profile on national radio network CBC and multiple items in Roger Friedman's "Foxlife" column. In December 2007, S Records bucked major label convention, offering "Cars" as a free download on The intrepid move thrust "Images" to No. 1 among Canada's downloaded albums for the final two weeks of December, during the fruitful Christmas buying season-topping discs by Sarah McLachlan, U2 and the Beatles. She repeated the achievement the week of Jan. 15-after the free download had expired-beating fare from Justin Timberlake, Josh Groban and Gwen Stefani. After a year of the initial push had worn off and it seemed the fledgling independent label could not handle the magnitude of the record. Naomi decided it was time to make a move, yet again. Jumping into the unknown and once again risking an album she had spent days and months masterfully crafting, knowing it was the only decision she could make. During this time of contemplation Naomi turned to one of her greatest passions in life. Helping people. The one thing that could gave her clarity and peace. She embarked on a mission trip, joining a medical team in Central America's Honduras. Flying in to the city alone and meeting up with the team to embark on a 7 hr bus ride to their location. She became an on-site nurse quickly along side a student doctor. Tending to patience, and relieving them of their pain the best they could. This was exactly the time away she needed. In June of 2008 Naomi left S Records and Nowack management. Focusing attention on an eleven song album titled 'The Green Album' Naomi wrote and recorded in a matter of months, she found herself back in the spotlight in Canada gaining radio airplay across the country in various markets. Performing for audiences upwords of 20,000 people and getting spotlights and f

1.1 Let Me Go
1.2 Fall Behind
1.3 Stay with Me (Tonight)
1.4 Live Through You
1.5 Starting Gate
1.6 Run
1.7 Play Along
1.8 End of Time
1.9 Waiting
1.10 I'll Catch Up
1.11 Sailing Away

Naomi Striemer: Green Album

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