Part of the appeal of her first effort was the acid jazz/hip hop flava that many of the tracks lended to her already Billy Holiday/Erykah Badu-esque aura. The electric effort there continues and evolves on this album. Tracks like "A New Scenery" are early proof of this evolution.
Part of the appeal of her first effort was the acid jazz/hip hop flava that many of the tracks lended to her already Billy Holiday/Erykah Badu-esque aura. The electric effort there continues and evolves on this album. Tracks like "A New Scenery" are early proof of this evolution. Taking on a more ambient/soul taste, this track brilliantly marries her soft voice with a playful flute about an acoustic guitar and keys that roll and flow about them both like light waves upon a warm beach. The result is truly intoxicating and is probably one of the best songs to intro someone to Wayna's style.
As you progress on through the album, you'll notice that her song choices are leaning more towards how Tamia would sound if she took a couple of hits of Baduizm topped with a bit of Mya's "whoa!" Sounding a bit more on the pop side of soul, Wayna manages to retain her artistry and soulful style in midtempo love songs like "My Love," "Daydream" and "Not Gonna Go".
Never fear though, she dips into the heavily blues/jazz laced "Office Politics," laying down a comical story of the dreary corporate grind of typical 9 to 5 insanity. There Wayna displays the core of what sets her apart from the norm. Her vocal creativity and songwriting skill shines in this mode as she skats about the tune playfully.
In a similar musical fashion, she produces, writes, and wields the same musical tone on "Mr. Duracell," where she teases us all with a hilarious analogy about a vibrator!
On a more serious tone, she paints a socially conscious canvas with independent sonic experimental magician Muhsinah. Here the two speak of police brutality and more in a way that only these two could. The blend is truly one that must be heard to believe.
To build upon that, she delivers a truly meant-to-be hip hop effort with producer Kev Brown on "Not Gonna Go." The two both weave their styles together in an way that just seems so natural that could only come from being comfortable working with each other. The vybe is midtempo funk and yet bangs a danceable â€˜cool' into your soul. Amazing is an understatement.
Staying in the comfortable realm of hip hop, Wayna does a virtual â€˜Doug.E.Fresh-styled' remake the soul classic "Loving You" with her own lyrical love affair with â€˜music' produced by true school hip hop emcee/producer Kokayi.
By playing thoughtfully over a rising guitar riff, she also harmonizes you into a mode of nostalgia in "Daydream" that is sure to seduce a smile. Later on in the program, she continues this optimistic look into days of old with the sweet summer cookout jam "Home." Telling stories of going home over a piano that seems to skip down the road before you, Wayna keeps spirits high and uplifting.
Bringing you a sense of the different dimensions of gospel, jazz, hip hop, and soul carried by songwriting that you can appreciate rather than dismiss is Wayna's core. On HIGHER GROUND she carries you about ever so sweetly and gently on a journey refreshing sonic scenery that only a smiling sigh could imitate.
A NC-native, B.J. Brown is an amateur freelance writer and published poet cycling between entertainment reviews (music and video games) in the chilled reaches of CT. Also a father and engineer, he recently released a poetry book via PublishAmerica.com entitled "Diary Of An Affair" and is busy at work crafting a second poetry book/compilation.