Roxanna – Exotica

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Artist: Roxanna
Album: Exotica
Song: All Songs
Producer/Songwriter/Arranger/Orchestration/Programming/Keyboards: Mark Portmann
Writers:Various
Producer: Mark Portmann
Label: RoxArt Inc.
Year: 2014

“Close Your Eyes” reached Top 20 AC Radio airplay in the US
“Hello” has reached Top20 NAC/Smooth Jazz airplay worldwide

With that, she realized that music, like medicine, is a great healer—and destiny would take her down a different path. “When I saw patients return to health, I knew my music could be useful in this world. Pursuing my dream as a singer was the happiest moment in my life,” Roxanna says. “There’s a quote from Shakespeare that goes, ‘If music be the food of love, play on.’ I like to put my own twist on it: ‘If music can heal your soul, it can also heal your body.’ No matter where you are from, what language you speak, music has the ability to soothe, revive and foster hope. It is truly universal, in any language.”

That theme is pervasive across the 12 songs comprising Roxanna’s debut album “Exotica,” released via RoxArt Inc. With a rich tapestry of velvety ballads and rousing, robust pop anthems of healing, forgiveness and strength—accompanied by the grandeur of string orchestration and jazz, Spanish and flamenco influences—the sensual songbird has certainly found her calling.

The collection is produced by Mark Portmann, who has worked with pop royalty Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Barbra Streisand, Annie Lennox and Christina Aguilera. He offers, “People want to hear real talent, real voices and real stories—something that changes your life. Roxanna’s music does that. She will give you everything you ask for. It’s a daunting task for anyone new in this business and she tackled it like a warrior.”

Among highlights of “Exotica,” “Close Your Eyes,” co-written by Portmann and Lindy Robbins (Celine Dion, Backstreet Boys, Nick Lachey), is a consummate nurturing love song offering a sky-scraping vocal tour de force as Roxanna sings, “Close your eyes, I’ll be here til the sunrise, and your dreams come to carry you far from sorrow.” She notes, “This song is such a parallel for what I saw as an RN, when people endure tough times and you want to offer them hope. I sang two takes of the lyric and we knew it possessed everything I felt in my heart.”

“Beautiful Rose” is another radiant refrain, which Roxanna wrote in honor of her mother, who died in early 2013. “Her death stopped me in my tracks, but I knew she wanted me to push on, which gave me strength to pursue my dream with all the more determination. I’m only sorry I had to send it to her in Heaven.” Adding another celestial element is accompaniment by both the Prague Orchestra and trumpeter Chris Botti.

And “Here With Me,” again featuring Botti, is based on a poetry book that her dad gave her mom some 44 years ago: “She marked her favorites by placing a rose or a stamp or some keepsake between the pages.” Roxanna took verses from her mother’s most beloved poems and translated them from Farsi into English.

“Exotica” is previewed by the Latin-flavored “Unforgotten,” which Roxanna wrote with Portmann. It’s based on the true story of her great love leaving her standing at the altar in 1999, six days before the planned wedding. “There was my gown staring at me. I couldn’t walk past a flower shop. I was embarrassed and heartbroken,” she says. The devotional to sadness, like all of her songs, is threaded with hope, accompanied by a sumptuous music video lensed by Matthew Rolston, which has garnered 600,000+ views on YouTube. Playing her paramour in the clip is “Days Of Our Lives” actor James Scott.

The album also includes two covers made popular by Julio Iglesias. “Only You” offers an English translation of his “Como Tú,” while she delivers “El Amor” in Spanish. “Julio… the most sensual, luxurious, vulnerable sound in the world,” Roxanna purrs. “I want to be the female version, bringing passion back to contemporary music. Enough about bad romance and hate and war. Music should be easy on the ear.”