Damita - No Looking Back (2008)

Damita
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Contemporary gospel is more than just a musical genre; it can be a veritable minefield for those who want to give glory to God, but sound hip, lively and relevant in the process. For those already familiar with Damita (wife of the incomparable Deitrick Haddon) and her self-titled 2000 debut, she is capable of accomplishing both objectives, as evidenced by her uplifting and optimistic sophomore follow-up.

The Detroit-born and gospel-cultivated soprano combines her tender, airy vocals (which may remind newer listeners of former Destiny's Child member Michelle Williams') with an ambitious blend of R&B, pop and reggae influenced-tracks (mostly produced by another Haddon heavyweight, Gerald) as she sings of issues that beset every believer. Some songs are undeniably God-centered, such as "Great God"and the wistful "I Will Trust," offering unquestioned devotion to the one who "filled my space.

Contemporary gospel is more than just a musical genre; it can be a veritable minefield for those who want to give glory to God, but sound hip, lively and relevant in the process. For those already familiar with Damita (wife of the incomparable Deitrick Haddon) and her self-titled 2000 debut, she is capable of accomplishing both objectives, as evidenced by her uplifting and optimistic sophomore follow-up.

The Detroit-born and gospel-cultivated soprano combines her tender, airy vocals (which may remind newer listeners of former Destiny's Child member Michelle Williams') with an ambitious blend of R&B, pop and reggae influenced-tracks (mostly produced by another Haddon heavyweight, Gerald) as she sings of issues that beset every believer. Some songs are undeniably God-centered, such as "Great God"and the wistful "I Will Trust," offering unquestioned devotion to the one who "filled my space. When I deserved death, Lord, You stood in my place." Another soothing mid-tempo, "I Won't Complain," tells of remaining strong in the face of confusion or adversity because of God's past, present and future grace in her life: "You Know God has been so good to me, He's opened doors I could not see."        

And like other gospel contenders, Damita avoids being "too heavenly for any earthly good" with songs about relational love, such as the bouncy "Plain and Simple" and the swaying, reggae-esque "Best Thing," expressing joy and gratitude to the man in her life. "Torn Up," which is vague enough to describe either a broken marriage or a fractured friendship, conveys the pain and loss and a yearning to make things whole again. The mostly worldly contribution, the energizing track "Pray," finds Damita delving into her deeper vocal register to convey the angst she feels about the social chaos unfolding around her: "Can't even turn on my T.V., without hearing about war and tragedy, tell me who's to blame...but if you will let me suggest to you, that the only way we're going to make it through, is to get down on your knees and pray." "No Looking Back" is one of the most powerful songs in her catalog, sure to resonate with anyone stepping out on faith to make changes in their lives: "I am leaving this place now, letting go with all my fears, saying goodbye to the memories I hold dear." What begins as timid closes with soaring confidence and an unshakable resolve: "Every step I take is new, I found courage to go on; though it's rough sometimes, I still have to be stong."

For her fans and for newcomers, Damita's latest CD will not disappoint; now that she's delivered yet another satisfying set of contemporary gospel songs, there should be No Looking Back for this rising star.

Melody Charles

 
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