Tarrey Torae - The Sweetest Survivor (2011)

Tarrey Torae

Tarrey Torae The Sweetest Survivor.jpg

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She’s got big dreams, Chi-Town connections, a heart for activism and a penchant for soul music and self-expression. Tarrey Torae could’ve forged a trail for herself in any avenue she chose---the Delta Sigma Theta Inc. was an NAACP president who collaborated with the likes of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, Dr. Ben Chavis and Cornell West on community projects---but followed her calling to write and perform, singing background for Talib Kweli and sharing Grammys and lyrical credits with Kanye West and John Legend. Most beginners would be more concerned with image before honesty, but Ms. Torae spills her heart’s contents for the world to hear on her debut release, The Sweetest Survivor.

She’s got big dreams, Chi-Town connections, a heart for activism and a penchant for soul music and self-expression. Tarrey Torae could’ve forged a trail for herself in any avenue she chose---the Delta Sigma Theta Inc. was an NAACP president who collaborated with the likes of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, Dr. Ben Chavis and Cornell West on community projects---but followed her calling to write and perform, singing background for Talib Kweli and sharing Grammys and lyrical credits with Kanye West and John Legend. Most beginners would be more concerned with image before honesty, but Ms. Torae spills her heart’s contents for the world to hear on her debut release, The Sweetest Survivor.

Like a journal of inner-most thoughts and feelings read out loud, Tarrey’s songs and spoken word pieces capture raw feelings about self-esteem (“Don’t Let Them!”), the state of the world (“All Gonna Change”) and pursuing the desires of her soul, like a drama-free relationship (“Right To Love,”), innocence (“Little Girl”) and overcoming shattered trust (“Life Death Freedom.”) Ms. Torae owns a full, and expressive soprano and delivers words and lyrics that allude to a wisdom borne of experience as well as years: it’s hard to ignore the pain in her voice when she reveals betrayal (“I trusted you since the day I was born, so why don’t I feel safe in my own damn home?”), or tells a young woman to stop living for other people or surrendering too much too soon (“Baby Girl, don’t let them steal your joy, don’t let them tear you down/pick up and wear your crown”). However, the music and production don’t match the sophistication or ambition of her words, making the listening experience on The Sweetest Survivor an uneven one.

With a lot to say and a compelling voice to say it with, Ms. Torae, in time, will make her name known beyond the circles of Chi-Town and become a worthwhile artist in her own right. But the delivery of the final mix needs a bit more polish to give her the push to the forefront that she so obviously deserves. The Sweetest Survivor has a lot to offer, but you need the patience to overlook the rough edges and see the jewel underneath. Moderately recommended.

By Melody Charles

 

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