Mark Vincent

Compass

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Striking while the iron's hot, 16-year-old tenor Mark Vincent's second album, Compass, comes less than 12 months after storming to victory in the 2009 third series of Australia's Got Talent. The follow-up to his chart-topping debut, My Dream: Mio Visionario sees him team up with producer Chong Lim for another series of popular show tunes and classical arias with a few conventional pop songs thrown into the mix. With renditions of Miguel Fleta's "Amapola," Phantom of the Opera favorite "Music of the Night," and Sarah Brightman's "Nella Fantasia," all of which appeared on Paul Potts' debut album, One Chance, comparisons with his fellow Talent winner are inevitable. But a full 23 years his junior, Vincent adds a more youthful edge to the familiar standards, while both his enunciation and his delivery are far more authentic and convincing than his British counterpart's. Backed by simple but tasteful orchestral arrangements, Vincent appears just as much at ease when tackling traditional operatic pieces, such as Agustin Lara's 1932 Latin classic "Granada," as he does when adding an operatic flavor to modern pop classics like Roy Orbison's "Crying," Rod Stewart's "Sailing," and musical favorites like West Side Story''s "Somewhere" and Carousel's "You'll Never Walk Alone." An emotionally stirring duet with classically trained soprano Greta Bradman on a cover of musical hero Andrea Bocelli's "I Believe" provides the highlight, but Vincent's first original composition, the powerfully dramatic title track, specially penned for him by prolific Grammy Award-winner Diane Warren, suggests he could give Josh Groban a run for his money if he ever dared to venture away from the often predictable classical crossover fare. Compass isn't quite the leap forward Vincent needed if he's to transcend his talent show beginnings, but it's an accomplished effort which indicates he's capable of producing more original and inventive material in the future.

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