Fast-rising young singer/songwriter Barba Lica made a real splash on the T.O. scene with her 2012 debut That's What I Do. She veers in a more pop direction on new album Kissing You, while retaining the subtle phrasing and songwriting ability she showed on the first. No tortured diva stuff here, just cheerful and melodic tunes that'll brighten your day. Notable veteran Lou Pomanti (Michael Buble) produced and played keyboards, while A-list players include Marc Rogers, Kevin Fox, Reg Schwager, Kevin Turcotte, and Mark Kelso. Well-chosen standards like "I Get A Kick Out Of You" nestle neatly alongside Lica's upbeat originals. Her fun videos are also attracting eyeballs (31k for "The Food Song"). Definitely one to watch. Jazz FM radio personality Jaymz Bee agrees, predicting on air that Lica will score a major record deal this year.
The disc was launched last month at Koerner Hall in Toronto. Upcoming local gigs include Hugh's Room on Feb. 25 and March 12.