Tamika Nicole - Taking It There (2016)

Tamika Nicole
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Taking It There, the new EP by soul singer Tamika Nicole, has the feel of an audio resume. The record features six songs – two covers as well as fully produced and acoustic arrangements of two originals. Perhaps Nicole wants listeners who either do not recall or did not purchase her 2009 album, The Art of Letting Go, to realize or remember that she can cover all of the musical bases.

Taking It There, the new EP by soul singer Tamika Nicole, has the feel of an audio resume. The record features six songs – two covers as well as fully produced and acoustic arrangements of two originals. Perhaps Nicole wants listeners who either do not recall or did not purchase her 2009 album, The Art of Letting Go, to realize or remember that she can cover all of the musical bases.

If you prefer an artist who can add a little gravel to her voice and belt out a rock number, then listen to Nicole tear into a rocking version of “Come Together.” Where The Beatles’ original has a percussion and bass driven sound, Nicole roars in with her power packed vocals augmented by slashing electric guitars. Want a singer totally comfortable with merging the church house and the road house, then check out Nicole’s cover of “Stormy Monday.” The artist plays it straight in giving us a familiar rendition of the T-Bone Walker classic. Her sole accompaniment is a gospel-informed piano, and Nicole showcases her zero to sixty emotional and vocal range on this track.

SoulTrackers first heard the Nicole original “Next To Me” when the tune was Song of the Month in June 2014, and here Nicole lends her rangy voice to a funky mid-tempo number that finds her lamenting a relationship that is addictive in the sense that it’s bad for her spiritually even as it fills some deep physical and emotional need. Nicole remains in that thematic vein while once again stretching her rock vocals on “Don’t Say,” a cut on which she expresses frustration at a lover who seems to be balking at exploring the full possibilities of a relationship after taking her beyond the midway point. “Don’t say it’s me not you/I felt your heart beat too,” she implores in the song’s hook.

But then, as if to further solidify the diversity as a vocalist, Nicole includes acoustic versions of both originals. Both are good, but the soulful and jazzy piano and voice version of “Next To Me” is especially pleasing. Nicole drops the intensity level of her powerful instrument, allowing the voice to have a conversation with the piano and giving listeners a chance to hear the words.

It’s been seven years since most music fans last heard from Tamika Nicole. That’s the definition of an eternity in the music business, and it’s easy to see why Nicole might have found it necessary to use this EP to remind music fans what she can do and what she brings to the table. The answer to both questions is a lot. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

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