Some singers are gifted with a voice that has the power to uplift (almost) everybody – irrespective of the song being sung. Anna Hawkins is one such individual. Be it pop, show musical theatre, classical opera, folk, Celtic, her voice enfolds and enhances all musical material that crosses her path. On her third album, we are blessed with a set of 12 songs – half originals. They weave seamlessly between renditions of well-known gems such as Angel, Where The Lost Ones Go (with Will Martin), The Sound Of Silence (a sensitive collaboration with sister Lisa Grace Hawkins) and everyone’s favourite Frozen anthem Let It Go. Anna takes us on a gentle, considered journey of classy tunes, putting her own stamp on each. Again teaming up with Polish producer Pawel Zarecki and recording in Warsaw with a significant group of musicians and large string section, the results are taut, restrained, on point. For some, this material is mainstream, I prefer the term universal, or popular – in its purest sense. Highlight originals I Will Rise, What If and Earth Song make this a successful new step for her. As strongly hinted at with the title, Anna views this as her “permission to shine” album – and shine she does! “At the end of the day music is all about connecting,” she opines, and this proves a natural, graceful evolutionary step from performer to songwriter.