Lalah Hathaway - Self Portrait (2008)

Lalah Hathaway
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Daddy's little girl continues to carry on her family's musical legacy with the very poignant release of Self Portrait, the fifth album by soul songstress Lalah Hathaway. With her first disc on the resurrected classic soul label, Stax Records (Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MG's, The Bar-Kays), Lalah delivers a satisfying collection of new material intended to further solidify her declaration of empowerment. It's as if she's fallen, but nevertheless managed to land on her feet.

"Let Go," the album's premier single, takes a journey back in time to Lalah's beginnings as a recording artist. The track, which is co-penned by Rahsaan Patterson, reminds the listener of Lalah's 1990 hit "Heaven Only Knows." Both songs share the same vibe of exercising the faith that everything will be just fine at the end of the day.

Daddy's little girl continues to carry on her family's musical legacy with the very poignant release of Self Portrait, the fifth album by soul songstress Lalah Hathaway. With her first disc on the resurrected classic soul label, Stax Records (Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MG's, The Bar-Kays), Lalah delivers a satisfying collection of new material intended to further solidify her declaration of empowerment. It's as if she's fallen, but nevertheless managed to land on her feet.

"Let Go," the album's premier single, takes a journey back in time to Lalah's beginnings as a recording artist. The track, which is co-penned by Rahsaan Patterson, reminds the listener of Lalah's 1990 hit "Heaven Only Knows." Both songs share the same vibe of exercising the faith that everything will be just fine at the end of the day.

Lalah has truly developed into a first rate song stylist, and her velvet-textured voice transcends all of the melodies on Self Portrait. The song selection doesn't necessarily vary wildly in terms of tempo or aura, but Lalah knows exactly who she is and the type of artistry she wants to be remembered for.  Throughout Self Portrait, Lalah reaffirms her knack for independence. "On Your Own" (also co-written by Rahsaan Patterson) and "That Was Then" find her character at peace with the present-day situation. The former speaks of moving on from a bad experience because the morning sun will always rise. Better times are within reach. The latter track reminisces about a past full of naivety. There was so much she thought she knew. Now, "it seems like I'm born again," Lalah sings.

Self Portrait's most intimate offering is the finale, entitled "Tragic Inevitability." Lyrically, Lalah takes a different approach by posing one of life's ultimate dilemmas: "If we are truly fashioned by faith and modeled by destiny then surely we must concede to this tragic inevitability...what will be, will be." She concludes that the future should not be feared; some events will end tragically while others will lead us to a better place.

Lalah Hathaway, daughter of soul legend Donny Hathaway, is finding her eternal peace and blossoming into a grown-up with a purpose. She serves as a "Circle of Promise" Ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. She also enjoys traveling and using those experiences to create exceptional soul music. "Like my father, I want to leave a legacy of music that makes people really feel something, whether it be happiness, sadness, grief or heartache." And based on the results of Self Portrait, Lalah's doing a great job.

By Akim Bryant

 
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