Trying To Get To You

Monday, March 24, 2008

How Did I Miss Joy Denalane?

I’m officially embarrassed. I’m someone who prides himself on being in the know about soul – so how did I miss Joy Denalane? The German soul singer, the product of a black South African father and a German mother released a great album in 2006, Born & Raised and I just discovered it this weekend from eMusic. Her voice, while powerful, has a wonderfully refreshing degree of subtlety, a trait that has been lost on most soul singers in the post-Mariah and Whitney era. While vaguely reminiscent of Mary J. Blige (who she tributes in “7 Year Itch”), her tone is all her own; earthy, sultry, sexy and wise. In short, she sings like a Goddess.

Born & Raised is Denalane’s first album recorded in English (her other work has been in German) and to get the soul vibe, she and her producer Max Herre went to Philadelphia to record, with mainstays like Larry Gold contributing as well as some cameos by Raekwon and Lupe Fiasco. Her remake of Raekwon’s “Heaven or Hell” is flat out fantastic, and the album, on the whole, is a joy to listen to. Thankfully, it’s not neo-soul; it’s not nearly as self-conscious. Instead, it’s a great piece of modern soul that has its feet firmly planted in the present, even though its obviously inspired by the great soul (and hip hop) music from the past. Go get it now!

Download: “Heaven or Hell” (featuring Raekwon)
Buy Joy Denalane at eMusic

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know you don't need more new music in your life :), but if you like Joy, you might want to check out Stephanie McKay also. And Alice Smith.