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Whatever Happened to Romance? (USA)

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Album Review

Whatever Happened to Romance? is the debut album from "singing waitress" (as she has become known) Victoria Hart. Having garnered her nickname from a lucky turn of events that found her getting plucked from obscurity to perform for actor George Clooney at a party in France, in truth, Hart has had the good fortune to be discovered twice in her life. First, at age 15 while living with her parents in France, she was heard singing at a party at a vineyard by producer Geoff Gurd, who was so impressed he took her under his wing and began recording her — a creative partnership featured on this album. Second, in 2007 while working as a singing waitress at a restaurant in London, the 18-year-old Hart was invited to perform for a benefit party during the Cannes Film Festival hosted by Clooney and other stars, including Brad Pitt. The story was a press sensation and not soon after Hart had signed a purportedly one-million-dollar contract with Decca Records. Hence, Whatever Happened to Romance? is the fruit of the aforementioned tabloid story/record deal whirlwind. Featuring Hart's kittenish, old Hollywood glamour persona and '40s jazz singing style, the album is not dissimilar to work by other neo-crooners such as Michael Bublé, Harry Connick, Jr., and to a lesser degree Amy Winehouse. However, while a pleasant presence on record and an obviously charismatic performer, Hart has a somewhat thin, technically average voice, and separated from the press hype essentially comes off as a cabaret vocalist with a knack for campy, jazzish pop tunes. Refreshingly, producer Gurd has supplied her with a handful of all-original songs mixing pop/rock and jazz as well as a few well-chosen cover tunes that allow Hart's apple-cheeked talents to shine.


Born: 1988 in California

Genre: Vocal

Years Active: '00s

One of the odder musical sub-trends in rock history is how seemingly once a decade or so, there's a burst of artists directly inspired by the music of the 1930s and '40s, like Harpers Bizarre or Spanky & Our Gang in the '60s, Bette Midler and Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band in the '70s, U.K. sensation Mari Wilson in the '80s, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers in the '90s. In the early 2000s, there's already the Puppini Sisters' Andrews Sisters fixation and Michael Bublé's blatant appropriation...
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Whatever Happened to Romance? (USA), Victoria Hart
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