Rina Chanel.

What’s love got to do with it? Everything. What’s love sound like? Like the sweetest of melodies. Just ask Virginia Beach’s Rina Chanel. In her new duet, “Sweetest of Melody '' featuring Senghor Robinson, Chanel enlists the convincing saxophone, a cascading piano bed and a ballad rhythm section to tell her personal love story. Painting an imaginative world that reaches beyond the confines of romantic Paris, Chanel elegantly avoids cliches and run-of-the-mill pop songs with her ultimate blend of R&B, jazz and classically-trained vocals. “Sweetest of Melody” is a hum along, sing-along triumph. 

 One factor that kept creeping into my brain was the idea of the duet. Is it a thing of the past? Have us listeners been away from the days of “Islands In The Stream” (Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers), “Somewhere Out There” (Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram), “A Whole New World” (Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson) for so long that we haven’t had the chance to put a duet to top of mind? I feel like there’s been a gap in this particular song genre for quite some time. I think hip hop music has done a few exceptional ‘featurettes’ but not at the level of pop music and adult contemporary. 

Okay, now that I’m thinking about it, “Shallow” from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper is a great duet, but you get the point. “Sweetest of Melody” gets me in that mindset that this song structure can still very much be a hit. Chanel and Robinson have great depth in their voices. And they sound so amazing. Chanel’s voice has this magical way of diffusing ribbons of bluesy tones, almost improvised jazz-like melodies and self-assured ranges. Robinson, the baritone you would expect, takes a bit of the backseat to Chanel’s voice, but when he is in front of the microphone, he makes it count. He’s quite the dreamy crooner. Still, Chanel commands the song. You know how they say women in love glow? You can almost reach out and touch her voice and be struck by its beauty and the golden and amber glow she exudes. Robinson, too, propels the listeners into a wake that flourishes in hues of blues, purples and reds. He's a cool touch to her warm sunbursts. Their voices play off each other very well, and their dynamic is quite awesome. 

The duet endures. “Sweetest of Melody” is proof positive that Chanel and Robinson have intertwined their voices for the greater good. Why do we keep coming back to songs like this? Because they are a record of how we feel and only put to music adequately describes that pure joy of finding true love. Chanel and Robinson have really found their sound and their voices complement each other in all the right ways in this incredible track. I can’t sing their praises enough. “Sweetest of Melody” reminds us all that the world really does need love. It’s nice to hear that again and not feel guilty about it. Chanel and Robinson are as real as it gets.

Trace Whittaker


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