It's about the beach. It's about the people. It's about the language. And it's about the music.
Edge of the Ocean, the debut solo recording of the Olympia, Washington based vocalist Brittany Kingery, is about all that and more. The album will pick you up by your ears and transport you to Mexico's Pacific coast for an audio vacation with its tropical and Latin-flavored acoustic sounds and its picturesque lyrics about life at the edge of the ocean.
Brittany and her supporting cast, vocalist Derek Harris and vocalist-songwriter Rob Morgan Hill of Game Six, have all adopted the Riviera Nayarit, a sunny coastal stretch North of Puerto Vallarta, as a vacation home away from home, and have been performing periodically in the area since the release of Game Six's 2009 recording "God, Love and Mexico". Brittany is slated to release "Edge of the Ocean" with a headlining performance at the 7th Annual Festival de San Patricio (St. Patrick's Day Festival) in Bucerias, Nayarit, an event fast becoming the the largest and loudest celebration of the day South of the border. The official release party will be followed by performances in other cities in the Jalisco-Nayarit states of Mexico followed by a US release party and concert in her home town of Olympia, Washington on May 3.
"There's nothing I enjoy more than singing and no place I enjoy more than the Mexico coast", says Brittany. "So it's very satisfying and exciting to be able to celebrate the release of this recording in Mexico."
Brittany and her record company are taking their commitment to the area one step farther. All of the proceeds from sales of the disc in Mexico and a portion of sales and downloads elsewhere are being donated to Mexico-based charities. Brittany says the charities are being selected in part by the event promoters and in part selected by her and Exit 104 Records.
"Even though I am just a visitor, I feel a very strong connection to the area and want to be involved in the community," says Brittany, who hopes one day to live in Mexico, at least part time. "We want to support the people there who are doing the important work of providing housing and education to underprivileged kids and improving the quality of life and economic opportunities for families."
Raised in the rural Washington town of McCleary, in Grays Harbor County, Brittany received musical training as a child as a drummer but did not start singing publicly until adulthood. After studying music and performance art at Grays Harbor Community College in Aberdeen, she left home for New York City, where she completed her college education and musical performance training at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan.
Not long after returning home from college, Brittany was introduced to Rob and Derek, who were then performing regularly as "Campfire Karaoke," a performance in which amateur singers would perform with live accompaniment. After a couple of years, the trio took a year-long break from live performance to record "God, Love and Mexico", an album on which Brittany played a supporting role."
"We were always thinking in the back of our minds that Brittany was ultimately a solo performer rather than just one member of a trio," says Rob. "After we did that record, we started noticing that the people coming out to hear us play live were mostly coming to see her. And we've been evolving since then, to the point that today, Britt sings lead on most of our songs. When Derek or I is singing lead, it's usually just to give her voice a rest."
Of the eight songs included in Edge of the Ocean, Brittany sings or shares the lead vocal on all but "Shamrock Bar", a song imported from "God, Love and Mexico" and one of a few songs on the CD about the coastal village of Bucerias, the unlikely location of an Irish pub. (The pub, the song, and its YouTube video have all become icons in Bucerias.)
Although she speaks very little Spanish, Brittany sings two songs in mixed Spanish and English and two entirely in Spanish on "Edge of the Ocean", including a hypnotizing, lullaby-ish interpretation of "Cielito Lindo", perhaps Mexico's most beloved traditional song, typically played in a ranchera or Mariachi style. Brittany says she was nervous about the challenge of recording the song.
"I am in love with the song," she says, "and I hope that my interpretation of it calls attention to just how beautiful it is. But, for sure, it is a little bit scary to be singing a song that is so revered in Mexico, in a way that it is not typically heard, in a language I don't speak."
Brittany says she had Spanish coaches with her in the studio for the recordings of "Cielito Lindo" and "El Amor de mi Vida", the other Spanish language song on the album.
"I told them not to let me get away with anything," she recalls. "I love singing in Spanish, so it's really important to me to get it right, not just as an artist, but as a matter of respect for the language and the song."