Born in Tuscany in 1994, Jessica Vitelli grew up listening to the music of legendary artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, and Frank Sinatra as well as modern pop divas like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. As a teenager, she formed a band and sang hit songs from the 80s. Soon this talented young vocalist, now going by the name of Jessica Brando, started getting recognition for her jazz and pop renditions, and began winning several local singing contests. By the time she was 14, she signed her first recording contract, and two years later released her first full album titled, Dimmi Cosa Sogni (translated from Italian, it means “Tell me what you dream”). This is a very mature and sophisticated selection of songs for a 16-year-old. If you didn’t know her age, you would think you were listening to a much older, seasoned female recording artist. The ten songs on this album are all sung beautifully, masterfully — and passionately– in Italian; Brando is backed by a very accomplished studio band and clearly, this effort has been guided by a talented producer. One of the songs is a duet with world renown Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli (and one of Brand’s musical idols). It is surprising that veteran music producer, David Foster, who is well-known in the music industry for mentoring young artists (like Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Charice, Jackie Evancho, and several years ago, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Andrea Bocelli, Seal, and the list goes on) has not discovered her and introduced to American audiences — yet. Brando’s voice and interpretations are refreshing in an era of so many homogenized aspiring singers, spawned in the American Idol generation.
For further reading: Hitman: Forty Years Making Music by David Foster, Gallery Books (2009)