“I first met Ali in July 2002 when she played our first ever Indie Artist Showcase in Nashville. I was taken by the contrast of her stage performance with her soft-spoken, subtle nature off stage. maybe it’s the line from the song “Soft in the Middle,” from her new CD, “Breathing Underwater,” that best describes Ali, “I don’t act like a girl who you need to protect, ’cause I hang with the boys and I earn their respect.”
It’s been fun watching Ali mature as an artist when comparing this new CD with her debut, Dirty Little Secret. Ali Handal delivers a four-star performance with this new project. Her introspective lyrics elevated by her passion to sing, her bivrant vocals, and her exploration of the inner battle between fearless independence and the longing for companionship are what makes “Breathing Underwater” so captivating.
She lives out her self-ascribed pseudonym of “funky sexy guitar girl” through her music, but the true Ali lies behind the song, and bleeds through between the lines. She’s a genuine musician with enough spirit to take her wherever she wants to go.
Listening to “Breathing Underwater,” it’s hard not to find yourself hiding out somewhere in one of her songs. My favorite cuts include “I Miss You,” “You Mean That Much to Me,” and the title track, “Breathing Underwater.”
Greg Tutweiler – Singer Magazine (Jun 9, 2005)
Ali Handal, like most great artists, has evolved. Her debut CD “Dirty Little Secret” was a mix of largely rocking tunes, showcasing her talent on the guitar. She is one of a handful of female axe folks who aspired to be like Jimmy Page.
This time around “Breathing Underwater” is a soul-searching much more intimate CD where she explores relationships, break-ups, the loss of love and bittersweet independence. Again, the guitar work is what makes the project, but this time it’s melodic, brooding, spiritual acoustic rhythms that remain long after the sound has stopped.
It reminded me of early Sarah McLachlan, with a bit more attitude.
Her music has been featured on Sex in the City, Life As We Know It, Dawson’s Creek and other popular television shows. She has garnered several prizes including the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. For more go to www.alihandal.com
Jim Clark, Publisher – Lee County Courier (Sep 21, 2006)
“Handal has landed numerous film/TV placements with songs that convey an intimate, soulful vibe. The ballad “I Miss You” sets the tone for her full-length CD with an acoustic ensemble whose sensitive playing is perfect for this performer’s soothing voice.”
Review of “Breathing Underwater” – Music Connection Magazine
Ali Handal’s “Breathing Underwater” (https://www.alihandal.com) is one of the heaviest albums you’ll hear this year. But the weight of this record has nothing to do with volume. In fact, this is a quiet, meditative album centered around Handal’s softly plucked acoustic guitar. The intensity of “Breathing Underwater” is in its emotions.
The title refers to trying to live through a desperate situation, and in Handal’s case it is a series of bad relationships. Yes, it is a well-worn theme but love is always at the heart of the best music, Pink Floyd being the exception.
Handal knows what its like to swallow the bitter pills of soured relationships. In “If Only,” she gives in to her drunken lover simply because it’s easier to do that than argue. Handal doesn’t sweeten her biting reality. She’s stuck in the trap, and it’s suffocating her. “If only I could break away,” she laments.
The spare arrangements on the lovely “I Miss You” heighten the intimacy of the lyrics; Handal, her vocals sweet and fragile, sounds as if she’s whispering in your ear. Her guitar work is subtle; however, it’s never dull, and it’s quite dreamlike on “Soft in the Middle,” arguably the finest song here.
Adam Harrington – WhisperinanHollerin.co.uk (Sep 2, 2005)
Ali Handal is already a very accomplished singer/songwriter. Her music has been featured on a variety of popular television shows like “Sex in the City”, “Dawson’s Creek”, “Undressed”, “Joan of Arcadia”, and “Celebrity Undercover” among others. Her tunes also have been properly awarded with her clutching the John Lennon Songwriting Contest Prize and ASCAP Plus award under each arm while also having her music featured in movies like “Dancing at the Blue Iguana” and “Emmet’s Mark”.
It’s no wonder she’s already accomplished so much as her pop-rock theories are righteous and her application of said theories is truer than Cupid’s arrow.
Vocally she’s well versed in a variety of melodies and she’s got great range that she makes liberal use of; meanwhile she’s got great chops on the guitar. Stir that all up with her well established songwriting skills, and you’ve got one helluva great musician.
J-sin – www.smother.net (Aug 21, 2005)