Sing For Me
There are many different roads that an artist can travel to reach a recording deal. For many, the travelling itself yields an anticipation and creates expectations for the final recorded work.Producers: Various
album release date: August, 2001
In the case of Desiree Coleman-Jackson, aka Dez, her road happens to include starring in the hit play "Mama I Want to Sing", experience with Patti LaBelle, and being the wife of NBA star Mark Jackson. Are these associations enough to deliver a marketable and memorable Gospel project?
On Sing for Me, Dez brings a multi-faceted album, switching sounds more than Tonéx switches hairstyles. While in some cases, this variety can reflect outstanding skills, in other cases, it reflects a lack of direction. For Dez, it can be a little of both.
She finds her niche in some of her more traditional offerings. "Thank You Lord", penned by Love Fellowship alumnus David Frazier, is a nice choral ballad laced with a Sunday morning worship design. With Frazier on organ and John Peters (known for his work with Dez's labelmate, James Hall and Worship & Praise) on piano, this song delivers that New York feel on a powerful piece which thanks the Lord for his goodness and mercy.
Dez also gets some assistance from fellow Northeast diva Nancey Jackson, as Jackson pens a take of the old hymn "Softly and Tenderly". With vocal arrangements by Nancey and background vocals by Love Fellowship’s Ayana George, the song delivers an old-school message with an updated flava.
The New York based singer also seems to be at home with mellow, R&B stylings, with several cuts on the project accenting her ability to shine in this vein. Songs like "To God I Give the Praise", "I'm Still Waiting", and "A Song" are ones you'll want to hear over and over again.
Dez also forges some unique partnerships that result in some exciting results. She teams with Ox of the Bankers on the opening cut titled "Give Him Your Life". Ox's cameo lyrical flow is reminiscent of Ja Rule with rough and edgy vocals, reflecting that hard-hitting urban style birthed from the streets of New York City.
Dez continues her hip-hop pairings as she teams with the "Pentecostal Poppa" BB Jay, on “Diamond Rings". The phat pastor delivers one of his hottest cameos yet.
The album has strong production, with the work of Joe "Flip" Wilson (Natalie Wilson & SOP, Lauryn Hill), Onree' Gill, David Frazier, and Fugees alumnus Wyclef Jean prominent.
Jean pens the urban cut "I'm Calling You" which features a snazzy urban beat and Jean's trademark guitar licks. However, the slick production work does not hide the seeming uncomfortability that Dez has in an urban setting.
While some of Dez’s hard-hitting urban cuts have catchy hooks, her vocal stylings don't seem to fit as snugly; something seems to be amiss. In the urban tracks, great production and exciting cameos are often not enough to camouflage the weak lyrics that surface.
However, diversity does offer an opportunity for exploration. As it becomes apparent that the strong urban vibe doesn't suit Dez, it also becomes clear that her mellow and traditional approaches DO lend themselves to her vocal abilities. These offerings do have stronger lyrics, and are more genuine and realistic to Dez.
Overall, the album introduces us to a different side of this experienced vocalist, who clearly has a strong desire to sing.
Destiny Music Group
reviewed by Gerard Bonner —
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