Afi - Lovely (2007)

Afi
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Washington, D.C.'s own Afi (pronounced "ah-fee") is truly a renaissance woman. After giving birth to three baby girls (Serwah, Soyini & Makeda), Afi had to shift the focus for several years from her music to her family's well-being without forfeiting her personal dreams for stardom. She has worked as a background vocalist, arranger and headlining-performer for D.C.'s famed U Street: Cada Vez series. Now, in 2007, Afi has released her debut album Lovely on her very own imprint, Afi Soul Recordings. Full creative control is a stipulation she has refused to negotiate.

Lovely defines the spirit of this very talented singer, songwriter, producer, arranger and creative director. Afi's passion for music invites the listener to a fun-filled experience, which places her in direct competition with a select group of neo-soul sirens like Angie Stone and India.Arie.

Washington, D.C.'s own Afi (pronounced "ah-fee") is truly a renaissance woman. After giving birth to three baby girls (Serwah, Soyini & Makeda), Afi had to shift the focus for several years from her music to her family's well-being without forfeiting her personal dreams for stardom. She has worked as a background vocalist, arranger and headlining-performer for D.C.'s famed U Street: Cada Vez series. Now, in 2007, Afi has released her debut album Lovely on her very own imprint, Afi Soul Recordings. Full creative control is a stipulation she has refused to negotiate.

Lovely defines the spirit of this very talented singer, songwriter, producer, arranger and creative director. Afi's passion for music invites the listener to a fun-filled experience, which places her in direct competition with a select group of neo-soul sirens like Angie Stone and India.Arie. Afi's ingenuity as a songwriter can be felt on "Sorry (Gotta Go)" and "You Ain't the One" featuring a rhyme from the self-proclaimed "original African queen of hip-hop" Madarocka. "Sorry (Gotta Go)" is sassy and assertive. Her no-good man doesn't show his love so she just has to leave. On "You Ain't the One," Afi sings over a funk-driven mid-tempo track that could please many mainstream soul music fans.

The majority of Lovely is very well-written and suffers only in terms of recording quality. Some tracks could use a better mix of the elements while others simply sound too much like "basement" recordings. Nonetheless, Lovely displays a versatile singing style absent from many contemporary neo-soul projects. Afi brings a different kind of energy to each song she sings. She finds the pocket of the rhythm and sticks to it.

Afi explores every one of her ritualistic thoughts on Lovely. "Headache" seems like a borrowed idea from Floetry's song by the same title, but it's a unique expression. Family, friends and acquaintances accuse her of "thinking too much," which would be the reason for the unexplained pains in her head. "Unbelievable" (which is accompanied by a reprise) is the inevitable track dedicated to her children. It's vibrant and exuberant like only a mother's love can be.

As a prolific singer/songwriter, Afi has a meaning in life and love. Motherhood brought it to light and her debut project Lovely will prove to inspire others in life and love too. Concertgoers should look forward to any live appearances by Afi in their neighborhood because Lovely has the feel of quite a dynamic live performance. It's like a mother's touch that comforts, nurtures and soothes the soul. It's Lovely... 

by Akim Bryant

 
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