Arika Kane - Arika Kane (2009)

Arika Kane
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Childhood ambitions don't always pan out as plausible career moves, either because another calling takes hold, or a rude reality check demonstrates that they're better off making other plans. From the sound of it, neither of these apply to Arika Kane. Singing since the tender age of ten, Ms. Kane had a start in the game that some vocalists lack---musicians for parents---and because of that, always had fervent coaches and cheerleaders for her burgeoing singing and songwriting skills, which are skillfully displayed on eponymous debut.

Counting Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey as major influences, Ms. Kane has a bouyant soprano (if sticky-sweet at times) and some serious lyrical game, co-writing every track except one (a coy cover of the pre-druggie Bobby Brown hit, "Rock Witcha") and occupying the co-producer's spot at the boards.  She belies her tender years on introspective songs like the wounded "Never Really Knew U," the throbbing "All My Life" and "Why Did We Fall ‘N Luv," which questions the purpose of coming together if all he intended to do was keep her in the dark as a side chick. While the musical accompaniment on the tracks can come across as rote and simplistic, Ms. Kane does have a soothing, satiny feel to her voice and should be able to steadily build on her success, as long as she isn't afraid to explore the full depth of her range and move outside the expected pop/R&B box, which is what made her idols transcend their expected genres and become standard-bearers of stage, screen and song.

By Melody Charles

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