Dream Label Group
Release Date: June 23rd 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Jasmine Hurtado– Sparkle (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- Heard About You
- Daddy’s Little Girl
- I Will Not Fear
- Let ‘Em Know
- One Word
- What I Believe
- Walk It Like You Talk It
- Bought By Blood
“…Music has always run in the family, so all my uncles and aunts and cousins are all into music, you know, they’re involved musically somehow, that’s kind of where the love of music grew into my heart and since then it’s something that I can’t really live without to tell you the truth…” Dream Label Group has always been one of the labels that has signed the underdogs, the up and coming artists, with artists like We Are Leo, Soulfire Revolution, Eliot, Saint Esprit, and New Hope Christian College, all signing to the label within the past year. Now Dream Label Group has signed one of their most vibrant and freshest artists to date. Enter in 16 year old Jasmine Hurtado, and it’s clear that right off the bat on this 10 track debut pop/rock/worship project (it’s her first English studio project after a slew of Spanish projects and English holiday themed albums), that she is a young woman of God that deserves attention and listening. Reminding me musically and vocally of a young Jaci Velasquez, Rachel Lampa, or even Jamie Grace; Jasmine’s songwriting and singing prowess is way beyond her 16 years, which is definitely a plus, and I am certain that anyone who listens to this musically diverse and eclectic album will gain something from it. So let’s dive deep into these tracks and let me give you all my point of view.
Led by imposing and commanding synth and reminding me slightly of TobyMac’s “Me Without You” musically (in the best way possible!); Jasmine passionately sings with thanks and gratitude about the moment she became a Christian in the resounding and powerful dance/EDM/remix like title track. As Jasmine emphatically sings out that ‘…I am going to sparkle for all the world to see, because I am thankful that God You set me free, You came and showed me what love is, so now I’m gonna live with a sparkle for all the world, for all the world to see…’, we are presented with a woman on fire for Jesus singing about the love of Jesus and how she wants to radiate it over everywhere she goes. A simple message yet very effective as well, well done Jasmine for setting the tone for the rest of the album.
What is also very compelling and enjoyable about Jasmine’s album is that she interweaves her own personal stories into songs which also contain worship themes and references to Jesus. So almost every song is sung on two different levels, and that musical and lyrical direction is something I admire. The fun, poppy and sometimes lyrically cheesy guitar led 2 minute melody “Heard About You” integrates worshipful with the personal as Jasmine reiterates that everything about Christianity and what she has heard about God is true, providing us with a testimony and declaring that ‘…You have never let me down or left my side I found everything to be true that I heard about You…’, while “Priority” takes the tempo down a bit as an acoustic guitar and piano start this compelling ballad, as Jasmine vocally shines, reminding me of Lauren Daigle. One of the highlights on this batch of 10 songs, Jasmine delves into priorities (as the title suggests!) and reminds us all that God should be number one in our lives, regardless of the other important and urgent circumstances, situations and other things we may think are important. Life changes all around us and some things fade, but God is always constant, and we should praise Him for that. Jasmine highlights this fact very early on in the album, a fact that some people today are still trying to grapple and grasp with.
With Father’s Day in America come and gone (it’s still a couple of months away in Australia!), Jasmine has followed Finding Favour’s footsteps and created a gem of an inspirational song in “Daddy’s Little Girl”, to complement “Be Like You” quite nicely. Reiterating across pulsating drums and inspiring keys, that ‘…you are my anchor in hard times, you are my blue sky in sunshine, so no matter where I am in this world, I’ll always be daddy’s little girl…’, Jasmine praises her earthly father for loving her unconditionally, with this vivid and beautifully written melody showing us only a fraction of the kind of love Jesus has for us. Danceable yet also reflective at the same time, this song is worth a listen (yes, even my men), if only to remind ourselves of God’s everlasting and unending love. Jasmine then carries on the theme of God’s unbounding and life affirming love, in the Hilsong-esque piano led melody “I Will Not Fear”. Though the chorus is somewhat repetitive and lyrically everything has been covered before, Jasmine’s passion cannot be denied, as she belts out with gusto that ‘…God you are my refuge and my strength, the very present help in times of trouble, God You are my king for all my days…’, across explosive guitars in the final epic chorus.
The most CCM track on the album “Let Em Know”, is unfortunately the lowest point on an otherwise solid album. Though this song led by keys and electronic effects is still catchy and nevertheless powerful in its message- Jasmine encourages us to let the world know who we are as Christians and to let the world know who Jesus Christ is, so that we are unashamed of our faith in Jesus. “One Word” (nope, not the Newsboys song from Restart!), is a hand clapping folk/country reminiscent acoustic type melody, where Jasmine eloquently reminds us that with just one word, God can rearrange our lives for the better and calm our fears and insecurities- and with just one word, out entire outlook on life can change. While the mid-tempo piano ballad “What I Believe” confronts us and asks us in what ways we can actively show our faith to our community and the world, as Jasmine fervently proclaims and rhetorically asks ‘…what if I put my faith into action, what if I lived what I believed, opened this heart to the lost and the broken cause I can finally see faith is nothing without deeds…’, prompting us to have a good look inside ourselves to see with we are active or passive in our walk with Jesus.
Authenticity is the key with the penultimate melody, as the inspirational pop tune “Walk It Like You Talk It” has Jasmine reiterating that we need to be real in our faith, and to actively live out what we believe. This melody is another eye opener and challenges us about whether we are living like Christ would want us to live. The album ends with the poignant, heartfelt, worshipful “Bought By Blood”, as Jasmine ardently and passionately proclaims that she is free and bought by the blood of Jesus, holy and blameless in the sight of God. What a vibrant and God breathed melody to end an enjoyable album with; Jasmine, you can be proud of yourself with this near perfect debut album!
So what’s my consensus? The long and short of it is that Jasmine Hurtado’s Sparkle, although containing some clichés musically and lyrically, is an album to behold, and that’s largely due to Jasmine’s stellar voice and youthful enthusiasm, not to mention her big heart for Jesus. Defintiely a name to watch out for in the near future, I think I’ve said everything I need to say about this record without sound like…a broken record. I could praise this record and this artist all day! So I’ll instead let you be the judge! Hopefully you will love this release as well!
3 songs to listen to: Priority, I Will Not Fear, What I Believe
RIYL: Lauren Daigle, Dara Maclean, Jamie Grace, Jaci Velasquez, Rachael Lampa