Finnish blues singer Ina Forsman has just released her new album Been Meaning To Tell You. Ina has been on the scene since 2013 and has already released two albums for Ruf Records, a European music label that specialises in blues. There’s an interesting back story about this album and a particular fateful event which changed the course of Ina’s creative life. A couple of years prior to the recording of this album she lost her phone while performing in New York; the phone contained the new material for her next album. Ina never retrieved her phone but it didn’t stop her from rewriting the entire thing. And here it is; a big record in every sense of the word. From the two ballads that bookend the twelve tracks to the plethora of blues, funk-pop gems that compromise everything between, it’s a bold, sophisticated and self-assured collection of songs that showcase Ina’s formidable vocal and songwriting talents. And formidable they are.
The songs are an extraordinary blend of non-traditional blues, cocktail jazz, rock funk and pop, with the occasional excursion into territory that harnesses the effervescent colour of Latin. But it’s an amalgamation that works, not only for the quality of the songs but the sheer power and dynamic artistry of Ina’s vocals. Whether it’s with a gospel army choir billowing behind her, such as in Be My Home and Chains, or when in a cappella mode on Sunny, the force of her voice, both during restrained moments or more unbridled peaks, is such that its emotional pull is incontestable.
The versatility of her talent can be heard even when the tune’s lyric is the focal point, such as in Figure, where the sentiment is augmented beautifully by the smoky cadences as well as by the sweet potency when Ina adopts her head voice. There’s no doubt the world will soon be hearing more of Ina Forsman and this album is sure to be one of the reasons for that.