Back in 1981, when the pop/soul band Champaign first stole our hearts with their uber romantic genre crossing Billboard #1 AC, #4 R&B hit “How ‘Bout Us,” beautiful duets defining the mellow side of the decade were becoming all the rage on the pop charts.
Just to name a few, we entered the love zone with “You & I” (Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle), “Islands in the Stream” (Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton), “Baby Come To Me” and “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” (Patti Austin and James Ingram), “Separate Lives” (Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin), “Endless Love” (Lionel Richie and Diana Ross), “Up Where We Belong” (Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes) and “Almost Paradise” (Mike Reno and Ann Wilson).
Now, some 40 years after Champaign’s chart heyday, the lead singer Pauli Carman – still a multi-talented force to be reckoned with – brings the musical spirit of those wonderful duet days to our present day, capturing our restless romantic spirits once again with “When Your Heart Beats With Mine,” a classic styled pop/soul power ballad with the incredibly soulful Rachelle Halling-Valdez, who when she’s not mesmerizing vocally is owner of Club 90 in Sandy, Utah. Together, the two create a passionate conversational duet for the ages.
With knockout, heart and soul tugging performances by both, the instantly infectious track’s feeling of hopeful promise and expressions of devotion make it the ultimate love song offering comfort during these anxious times. While the dynamic production by Gaylor Brunson, Chief Engineer/Owner of Utah’s Rock Canyon Studios, and the ensemble of heavy studio hitters (including guitarist Cary Park, whose blazing solo steals the show) ensure its contemporary vibe, there’s also a definite throwback quality that sparks memories of an era of relative innocence.
The song also celebrates the nearly ten year friendship and professional relationship between Carman and industry veteran Pat Melfi, who has been the singer’s manager since 2013. The back story is just as touching as the song itself. Melfi and singer/songwriter Nathan Osmond (a popular performer and member of the legendary Osmond family) wrote the song for Melfi’s bride Kathryn, and it was performed live for the first time by Osmond at their wedding.
Soon after, Melfi began sharing the song with people he knew in the music industry, and the response was so favorable that he decided to share the song on radio stations, and now, via the Champaign Pauli Carman version, on Spotify.