Material: Katrina Stuart’s “Blue Roses,” which she showcased at this event, is an exceptionally polished pop song recycled from other pop acts before her. The song is catchy; the production value is top-notch and the melodies are strong. Lyrically, however, “Blue Roses” is far from revelatory. The words are framed in such a simple way that one might assume it had been written for the lowest common denominator. All this to say that Stuart is clearly being groomed as the “next big thing,” but she and her team may do well to remember that pop icons can do more than just look pretty and carry a tune.
Musicianship: Stuart’s band did exactly what they were meant to do: namely, support the act and do little else. This band would be excellent as session players, as all of their parts were placed snugly together like a pageant queen—nary a hair out of place. It was unclear, however, how much Stuart actually had to do with the song. Her vocal, while strong in the music video played beforehand, was soft and fragile. Standing close to the stage made it easy to note how extraordinarily loud the guide vocal was in the mix. It would have been much more impressive to hear Stuart’s real voice during the performance, instead of a mix of the produced track.
Performance: Stuart has a community of people who love her and that much can be commended. Her crowd was excited about everything she did, and her team of band members and dancers were equally passionate. Unfortunately, the person who seemed the least passionate was Stuart herself. Perhaps due to nerves or the desire to look effortless, Stuart was late entering the stage and seemed to be enjoying herself as little as possible. The mix, and maybe her label team, didn’t seem to trust her ability to put on a performance of her own—which is deeply upsetting to witness. This performer might do well to let more of her personality shine through for this project.
Summary: The song is fine, that’s not the real problem with this act. For Katrina Stuart and her team, please remember: when you’re trying to think of what will sell, don’t forget to wonder if your song will impact your audience or if it will, ultimately, become forgettable. Trust yourself and use your individuality instead of trying hard to fit the mold. As it is now, Katrina Stuart is set squarely to become the next flash in the pan. Please prove me wrong.
Players: Katrina Stuart, vocals; Jacob Plough, keys; Chase Bell, electric guitar; David Cannava, drums