Jackie O Kelley | Forgiven

Jackie O – Forgiven
By Peggy Oliver
Jackie O, a multi-gifted singer/songwriter, has fully dedicated her life in leading souls to Christ since the age of seven. The Fresno, California born musician played piano and sang before her father administered the sermons at her local church. A few years later, Jackie O taught music and directed choirs; eventually leading up to an international ministry throughout the U.S., Europe and Egypt. When not spreading the message of joy to others with original songs, Jackie O has taught piano and voice for the past twenty years and served in various minister of music capacities in central California.
The doors opened wider for Jackie O's solo career in 1998 after being discovered at the world famous Christian Artist Seminar in the Rockies from Estes Park, Colorado. The judges were wowed with her elegant alto that spurted power and grace. Jackie O was voted top female vocalist and earned third place in the duet category with her husband, Keith Kelley. In 2008, her debut, All About You, was released under the name Jackie O Kelley. One might notice the cross in the middle of the letter ‘O’ (designed by Kelly) to symbolize the importance of Christ’s undying love for all. The independent disc on Spirit Song Music gently flowed with various styles of praise and worship spanning Latin, reggae, old school soul and gospel.

Now signed to the multi-media company Tate Music Group, Forgiven is a continuation of Jackie O’s mission to keep original worship foremost in her music, served with a satisfying flow of various arrangements. Tate in-house music producer Austin Harms provides full sensitivity to Jackie O’s gentle but powerful voice that is devoid of showmanship. “Letting Go,” an exercise of fully trusting in God, has an underlying soulful groove: “Like a hold of my hand because I have the perfect plan for your life, I’ll make it alright.” The ballad “Show Himself Strong” and the majestic “Show Me Your Ways (Psalms)” anchored by Jackie O’s delightful piano drippings are suitable for either pop or urban worship environments. Several Fresno-based talents assist Jackie O throughout Forgiven. Experimental rock violinist Patrick Contreras adds pleasing classical textures for “Stronger.” Gospel group Spirit of Truth lends their distinctive harmonies for the soft reggae flavor of “Child of God”: “The stranger’s voice I will not follow. His voice, the only one I hear”; and the ultimate highlight on Forgiven - the old school soul charged, “Simply Yes.”
Through the many pleasantries, there are two primary sour notes on Forgiven. The hip-hop-R&B misfire of “Steal Away” is doused by auto tunes and a paint-by numbers production by Jared B. Elston (whose other contribution of the title track is much more tolerable). And “You’re Not Alone” treads more familiar pop ballad territory with a very robotic keyboard accompaniment. Otherwise, Forgiven spotlight Jackie O’s secure praise and worship gifts in a mostly uncluttered musical atmosphere.
Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene


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