Damita Haddon's self-titled solo project on Atlantic Records
breaks new ground, with hard-hitting tracks and strong vocals
sure to leave their mark among the long list of new releases
slated for fall 2000. Producers: Deitrick Haddon, Arif Marden, others
album release date: September 26, 2000
The former member of Adoration
'N Prayze and noted solist with Voices of Unity has stepped out solo at a time when the field is both
fertile and competitive.
A tremendously versatile project, Damita's
tracks are anything but typical. This project impacts in that it
draws from some non-traditional gospel influences, and uses the
ambiguity to a successful end. Too soulful to be classified
as CCM, and atypical of even contemporary gospel, Damita
sets out to claim new musical territory.
Atlantic Records holds back no cards in recruiting a stable
of chart-busting producers. Contributing are the likes of Arif
Mardin (who boasts a list of adult contemporary elite that
includes Phil Collins, Barbara Streisand and Bette
Midler), and Jim Ed Norman (whose happy clients include The Eagles,
Faith Hill and Take 6). Damita's husband, Deitrick Haddon lends a hand on a few tunes as well.
There are a burst of different flavas on this project that give it a
twist. The guitar infused "Truth" features Toby McKeehan of
dcTalk and grips you early on the rock tip. "Calvary" is a
versatile ballad that could grace the CCM airways as easily as be
heard on your Sunday morning gospel segment. Vocally, it is notable
in that it is easily duplicated -a quality that arguably led to
the success of songs like Kirk's "Why We Sing". Penned by
Gerald and Tammy Bell Haddon, the ballad
backed primarily by keys and strings is beautifully
fragile, and Damita expresses a classic suitable vocal.
Back to the rock vibe. At first listen you may not
think "Hold On To Your Faith" is your cup of tea,
but even so, if you do nothing but appreciate the
lick-laden mix, you WILL have to concede to the overall
masterwork! However, if you free your mind, you just
might find it's more than that. Damita gives you Tina
Turner energy on the vocal side and the uplifting
lyrics are absolutely infectious. When you find out it's
your favorite, don't be surprised. We'll keep your
"Won't Be Afraid", addresses the social issue
of abuse, and how God can deliver. The production team of Deitrick
Haddon and Kevin Hicks and Bryan
package the mid-tempo tune
"The Wedding Song", was picked up to be featured on Bride
Magazine's promotional campaign. A slow tune penned by
Deitrick, who is featured in duet,
speaks of matrimony from both a Godly and romantic point of
view. The magazine reportedly has well over 5 million
readers, and it will be interesting to see how the song's
inclusion in marketing efforts will impact album sales.
Originally written for Damita and Deitrick's own wedding
ceremony, it shows another side of her vocal ability.
"If Ever", another strong ballad, brings definite pop overtones.
Reminiscent of some old Abba tunes in structure,
complete with electric guitar solo and pulsing background
vocals, this addresses love from it's very real human
view. Sharing unrestrained emotion Damita's voice is
wonderfully raspy and bright all at the same time.
Exceptional production and a can't-be-forgotten voice
couple for a trailblazing debut for Damita Haddon.
In this climate hot for crossover, the most interesting
thing will be to see where many of the vast array of
cuts will land.
If you are unconcerned with all of that and are just
looking for a fresh take on the music we all love,
you'll find a healthy dose here with a
little bit of spice!
reviewed by Melanie Clark —
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