I'm currently loving soul singer [w:Joy Denalane]'s 2006 release Born & Raised. Inspired by soul divas stretching from Aretha to Mary J, Denalane's second album avoids the generic over-produced sound that plagues recent releases by so many talent soul and R&B vocalists. Instead, Denalane draws heavy inspiration from a pluckier 70s sound. Denalane's voice is lush and expansive, calling to mind Erykah Badu's reedy flair, Lauren Hill's satiny cadence, and Amy Winehouse's deep grit.
Like Winehouse, Berliner Denalane proves Europeans no only get American soul music, but have something to say about it. Denalane sings of African ("Soweto '76-'06") and African-American ("Stranger in this Land") experiences as well as the torment of relationships ("Heaven or Hell"). In "For the Love," she ask why can't musicians "do it for the love" instead of constantly worrying about money. Denalane teams up with [w:Lupe Fiasco] on "Change," a song that could've been written for the Obama campaign. The [http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1zkaz_joy-denalane-feat-lupe-fiasco-chang_music0|video] shot in Tokyo shows both artists at their sweetest.
Photo: Joy Denalane in Munich 2006, Wikipedia