"Kimber Cleveland's music is deeply engaging and commercial without sacrificing a sixteenth note of integrity. She's a wonderful human being off stage, and any listener will immediately recognize her warmth and compassion in the music she makes. It was a privilege for me to work with her on her latest EP."
- Brian Malouf
(Pink, Pharrell Williams, Dave Matthews, Natasha Beddingfield, Madonna, Michael Jackson)
Kimber Cleveland's creative journey has taken her from "Music City" to Mackinaw Harvest Studios in Grand Rapids, MI to record her album, Comin' On Strong. It was a 24/7, eat-sleep-breath music experience. To encourage an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration, Kimber, the producers and musicians "lived" at the studio during the recording process. In between sessions, the troupe guzzled gallons of coffee, shared 30-inch pizzas from DiPiazza's Pizzeria, watched Fargo (again), and sang Karaoke at Konkle's, a local bar within walking distance from the studio. That level of camaraderie doesn't always happen when making a record. As a result, once-in-a-lifetime friendships and music were made.
Kimber found kindred spirits in producers and contributing co-writers Michael Crittenden (studio owner) and Doug Frasure. The project also includes songs co-written with Joe West and Dave Pahanish (Keith Urban’s number one, "Without You," and Toby Keith’s "American Ride"), Brent Baxter (Alan Jackson's number one "Monday Morning Church"), and Jesse Frasure, whose songs have recently been recorded by Rascal Flatts. Another collaborator and producer on this project, Scott Gerow, has received multiple film and TV placements.
Kimber's long-term musical relationship with Doug Frasure--including live performing, songwriting, recording and producing--was perfectly complimented by Michael Crittenden's fresh, unconventional approach. Add to that, Michael's unique studio environment was inpirational for Kimber and in her own words, "he 'gets me' as an artist." The Crittenden/Frasure team brought Kimber's vision to life, while allowing the process to happen organically and genuinely.
The album also features the guitar magic of Kimber's brother, Dave Cleveland, a highly-regarded and sought-after Nashville guitarist who has recorded and toured with national artists, played on film soundtracks, and composed themes for major TV networks. Being able to work with family added to the dynamic of authenticity that Kimber was striving for.
Two of the songs on the album feature the songwriting and producing talent of Nashville's Scott Gerow. Scott's credits include work on Christina Aguilera's Mi Reflejo album and placements in several TV series such as Homeland, Burn Notice, Sons of Anarchy, Ugly Betty, Army Wives, and more. His appreciation for an artist's individuality and his ability to encourage Kimber's natural quirkiness served Comin' On Strong well.
Brian Malouf, acclaimed producer and mix engineer, lended his multi-Platinum skills to five songs on Comin’ On Strong. He counts Michael Jackson, Madonna, Pink, Dave Matthews, and Pharrell Williams among his past clients. Crittenden's industry connection with Malouf led to a conversation about working on Kimber's new music and Malouf was enthusiastic about the material. He invited Kimber to his L.A. studio for the mixing sessions, where she was able to work alongside this industry icon.