Melanie Fiona - The Bridge (2009)

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    Melanie Fiona
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    In this hyperbolic music industry, you sometimes forget that hype can sometimes predict the real thing. On Melanie Fiona's inspiring debut one certainly gets reminded. The soul starlet from Canada delivers a top of the line debut album of old school R&B and big ballad soul pop with a lively contemporary twist. There are tinges of Deborah Cox in Fiona's vibrato, the strength of Monica in her runs and tone, and just enough of Lauryn Hill's resonance to make Fiona's flawless technique sound easy. While comparisons can be made, don't be fooled: Melanie Fiona is a uniquely talented vocalist in that "next big superstar" kind of way. There is a weight to her airy, tearful alto, a conviction that brings credibility to this eclectic selection of songs produced by major talents like Questlove (The Roots, D'Angelo). Not that Fiona has to worry about the quality of her songs.

    With proven songwriters like Andrea Evans (SWV, Angie Stone, Leona Lewis) at the helm, the results are catchy, melodic crossover tunes that move from pop to retro soul and urban adult contemporary, bridging all these genres without any loss in quality or integrity.

    The Bridge is a rare mainstream album by a rare, highly accessible artist. Remember the name, Melanie Fiona; you'll be hearing more of it for years to come.

    Notable songs: Give It To Me Right, It Kills Me, Walk On By, Monday Morning, and You Stop My Heart.

    Vocals: 3.5 stars
    Lyrics: 3 stars
    Music: 3 stars
    Production: 3.5 stars
    SoulTracks Call: Highly Recommended

    By L. Michael Gipson

    Choice Cut - Jennifer Hartswick - "For You"