Amber Bullock - Thank You

Amber Bullock
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Sunday Best can be deemed in several ways; such as what elite wardrobe one puts on for church service or more recently a national TV spotlight in searching for the next gospel idol and recording artist.  If one were to ask Amber Bullock what the popular BET show Sunday Best means to her, it would signify more than the expected career changing experience.  The St. Louis born singer had a more than impressive music resume previously working with Kirk Franklin and Myron Butler & Levi, possessing a classically trained voice nurtured at Oakwood University and traveling to Europe with a gospel choir.  

Sunday Best can be deemed in several ways; such as what elite wardrobe one puts on for church service or more recently a national TV spotlight in searching for the next gospel idol and recording artist.  If one were to ask Amber Bullock what the popular BET show Sunday Best means to her, it would signify more than the expected career changing experience.  The St. Louis born singer had a more than impressive music resume previously working with Kirk Franklin and Myron Butler & Levi, possessing a classically trained voice nurtured at Oakwood University and traveling to Europe with a gospel choir.  

Even with all of Bullock’s glowing talents and memorable highlights in her short career, a short but pivotal series of circumstances tested her faith to the maximum and her life was nearly turned upside down: Shortly after moving to Dallas, Texas, to be near her mother, Bullock and her daughter were in a serious car accident that led to a dramatic turn of events, including sharing a house with a co-worker and her six children.  Worst of all, Bullock’s single motherhood was challenged without a car at her disposal -- a situation that unfortunately forced her two-year daughter to live with her father.  Recalling her sturdy faith in God, she immediately prayed for a miracle to better emotionally and financially support her daughter.  The prayer was quickly answered in the form of a regional audition for season four of Sunday Best at The Potter’s House.  Within minutes of winning a spot in the show’s top twenty, the word spread quickly about Bullock’s astounding vocal abilities.            

Despite the occasional concerns about the "anointing" from the judges, there was never a doubt about Bullock’s unique perspective of contemporary and classic praise and worship.  Still remaining focused on trusting God and confident in her musical blessings, Bullock pressed on for the next several weeks, eventually being crowned Sunday Best season four winner over thirty-seven year old powerhouse, Andrea Helms.  Though she was thankful to receive a national recording contract, she remained extremely humble about her winning status.  

Bullock’s debut for Music World Gospel, the EP Thank You, sets the tone for an upcoming full length in 2012 and is a recap of her finest moments on Sunday Best.  The title track, a Walter Hawkins signature piece, is a healthy mix of hip-hop, jazz, R&B and gospel, and a personal stamp from Bullock regarding the harsh trails she experienced:  “Thank you for protecting me, Jesus.”  Bullock produces an exquisite jazz sculpture with Kurt Carr’s “For Every Mountain,” backed primarily by an acoustic combo.  “We Must Praise,” composed by J. Moss, is softened with more jazz frosting while maintaining the integrity of the original.  Bullock’s capabilities in translating material outside of urban gospel is just as convicting, as she tosses in jazz tidbits throughout one of the decades’ popular praise treasures, “How Great is Our God.”  Besides her extraordinary vocal phrasing, Bullock can kick it to the church raptors when necessary on with Richard Smallwood’s “Secret Place.”

Where Thank You falters has absolutely nothing to do with Bullock’s skills and has more to do with behind-the-boards decisions.  At times, the overall production feels a bit lackluster and a couple of orchestrations are mundane, particularl on “If It Had Not Been for The Lord.”  Considering those oversights on Thank You, Bullock accentuates her Sunday Best attitude for everything she has overcome, and her vocal weapons are locked and loaded for the projected 2012 Music World Gospel release.  Recommended.

By Peggy Oliver

 
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