My Mind - Single (2019)
Review By Dan Fister
October 16, 2020
Encore, a high school group at Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee, produces a version of My Mind by YEBBA that is highly polished, perhaps slightly too much.
Corrina Gill shines on this solo feature, singing with technique and expression beyond most high schoolers' years. The control in both head and belting upper registers especially impresses. Gill skillfully maneuvers between timbres and shades of color to accentuate the lyrics and the narrative arc.
This ensemble's strength lies in its blend and tuning. Although the post-production is audible, the singers' aligned vowels and chromatic harmonies cannot be manufactured. However, at times their diction, particularly on syllables that close to "m", could use more depth to fully resonate in their vocal chambers. Encore sounds best when supporting the soloist lyrically with large harmonic stacks, and arranger Patrick Dunnevant supplies many of these moments to showcase the ensemble.
However, the track rests too comfortably at a middle volume and an almost plodding tempo. I miss the small swells and especially the forward motion on long tones involved in creating My Mind's arc. Soloist Gill uses volume and articulation to take us on an expressive journey, but the background singers feel muted and rigid rather than free to sing with the fluid dynamics and tempo necessary for this ballad. Fewer quarter notes in the low voices and more expressive gestures would take this already good arrangement and performance to the next level.