Gina Sicilia and local singer songwriter Sammy Hakim will be at the Jammin Java on Wednesday, where Sicilia will perform her soul-tinged blues and music from her most recent EP.
Sicilia released her fifth album, “The Alabama Sessions,” on July 29, which she recorded in legendary Muscle Shoals, Ala., at the NuttHouse Recording Studio. The five-song EP is the first of Sicilia’s CDs that she produced herself.
“I’ve been singing my whole life,” Sicilia said. “I started writing songs when I was 12. When I was 13, I saw an infomercial on TV for a soul compilation album. One of the artists on the CD was Bobby Bland. I heard one of his songs on the compilation and I immediately knew that was the type of music I wanted to be doing.”
The music “seemed instantly familiar and very natural” to Sicilia and she has been writing and performing it ever since.
“I would definitely say it’s Americana music and what Americana music means to me, well it’s just a combination of different genres and forms of American music including blues, soul, R&B, roots music and jazz,” Sicilia said.
Sicilia had thought about producing her own music in the past, but had been discouraged in one way or another until she eventually received strong support to make the leap and finally decided that it was the right time to try it out.
“One of the musicians in my band really encouraged me to produce my own music and said I was capable and had the ear and the talent,” Sicilia said.
That motivation in addition to “a lot of changes” that were occurring in Sicilia’s life made for the perfect set up for her decision to not only write and perform her music, but also produce it.
“I moved from Philadelphia to Nashville and became more musically independent and independent in my career,” Sicilia said.
Sicilia said the musicians she worked with in the studio all did an amazing job and were very creative in the recording process.
“I brought these five songs I had written and, you know, you really need to decide in the studio what direction the musicians need to go and if it has to go in a different direction that you planned on,” Sicilia said. “I was making sure that every instrumental part that was played suited the song and suited the vibe we were going for.”
Sicilia said that figuring out how the music meshed together and making sure it sounded how she envisioned it sounding was hard, but rewarding.
“I’m thrilled with the outcome,” Sicilia said. “I’m so proud of the music. It was definitely the most personal album I’ve written and recorded.”
She explained that producing the album on her own felt like a “declaration of independence.”
“It represents that I’m moving forward in my career and becoming more independent musically in my career and in general,” Sicilia said.
On Wednesday, Sicilia will be joined on stage by a full band and plans on performing music from her new EP as well as songs from all different genres including soul ballads, upbeat Americana and some “borderline country tunes.”
“I try to put on a really dynamic show,” Sicilia said. “Definitely a mixture of all my musical tastes.”
Sicilia’s favorite part about performing in front of her fans, both new and old, is connecting with them. She explained that she loves being able to talk to the audience and tell stories as well as sing her songs.
“It’s great to look down at an audience member and see that they’re singing along to the lyrics that you wrote,” Sicilia said.