A Cuban-born Miamian, Secada has been contributing background vocals and compositions to Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine for five years. Stepping out on his own with his burnished, penetrating voice, Secada sounds like the tenor version of British singer Rick Astley: a romantic stylist who hasn't forgotten the importance of the big beat.
One listen to Secada's impassioned improvisations on "Dreams That I Carry" and "Do You Believe in Us" and it's apparent he has considerably more range than Astley. (And more language skills: Secada wrote or cowrote all but one of the 10 songs, including English and Spanish versions of "Just Another Day" and "Angel.")
"Always Something" is the real showstopper. Literally. It's a live recording of the acclaimed solo showcase Secada was given on the last Gloria Estefan tour. It's a soaring, bravura performance on which Secada free-falls through about three octaves.
Though the tone overall is a bit sappy, there's enough saving suave and sultry pop. Now that Gloria and her husband, Emilio, have encouraged Secada to move into the spotlight, it's going to be awfully hard to get him back in the chorus. (SBK)