Every once in a while an artist–just like a major leaguer’s elusive curve ball that surprises the batter–seemingly comes out of nowhere to surprise the listener. California based jazz artist Castella–a native of Long Beach–has done just that with her new (and second) EP release which is entitled Let Me Love You. (Castella adopted her name to honor her maternal grandmother; her actual name is Cathy Rebecca Crowell-Thompson).

Beginning with her 10+ smile, Castella just doesn’t disappoint. She has a compelling personal interest story behind her “new” musical career; a riveting, passionate and gripping voice; and, a soulful feel that just oozes genuineness while also exemplifying her legitimate belief in her own product which is herself.

Even though Castella may appear to be a newbie to the scene she’s not. Castella has sang for most of her life with her roots going all the way back to church groups and choir. Now enter the compelling human interest story; for most of her adult life Castella has worked in public service for local government and by good fortune, where one door closed another one opened. Somewhat recently, Castella left the public sector life to devote herself to that musical career that has always been patiently waiting inside of her.

In 2018 Castella met Grammy award winning producer Darryl Swann and not soon after that, in 2019 Castella released her debut EP entitled Thinking About You which was engineered and executively produced by Swann. What followed were the results that naturally flow from a great work; Castella charted internationally, she was nominated for “Breakout Artist Of 2020” by the Smooth Jazz Network, and, she was named artist of the year by the Central Standard Theme Show (smoothjazz.com).

By now Castella was all in on her musical career and she continued to perform, write and record. More recently, Castella–in fact earlier this month–released Let Me Love You, a six song EP that includes a terrific rendition of Atlanta Rhythm Section’s 1977 hit So Into You. Indeed, Castella’s rendition of So Into You is so good that it has already charted at #1 on the UK Soul Breakers Chart. Also featured on the new record is the title track which epitomizes this jazz artist’s work at its finest; a soulful, intense, and passionate performance supported by a mesmerizing vocal melody. Finally, also prominent on the EP is So Glad I Met You which features an intoxicating trumpet performance by the ubertalented trumpeter Willie Bradley. 

In the end, Let Me Love You is a fantastic record and this is my first exposure to this intriguing artist; I seriously doubt it will be my last. If you are into smooth jazz go no further; you will love this EP. Castella has a terrific style and one that a listener can grab onto right away. In fact, with Castella you don’t wait to listen to the music–it comes to you. As a performer she is exhilarating yet calming; exotic but familiar; and, explosive yet controlled. In my opinion, this artist has it just right and that usually makes for a great career.

Check out the video for the title track to Castella’s latest EP below:

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor