Vanessa Freeman Shades Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

...Vanessa Freeman's recording career is off to a promising start.

Jack Smith 2004

There's always been a distinct lack of quality UK soul singers. Songstresses, you can literally count them on one hand. Surely then the arrival of Vanessa Freeman'sdebut album should be treated with the same respect that greets the arrival of a giant panda?

Endangered species analogies aside,whilst unlikely at this early stage to give Jamelia a serious run for her money, on the strength of Shades Vanessa Freeman's recording career is off to a promising start.

Having previously made her mark as the vocalist behind the Reel Peoples "The Light", and with a string of collaborations behind her (Bugz In The Attic, 4Hero) she continues in the home grown tradition with West Londoner, Phil Asher, at the production reins.The result is a strong and memorable blend of neo soul beats, light r&b and funk-influenced jams.

With a voice pitched somewhere between Mica Paris and Jhelisa, Freeman plys her trade particularly well on the funkier material, where she sounds at her most comfortable. "Dawning Of A New Day", "This Love" and "Who Are You"sound uncannily like Paris's raw and heartfelt deliveries of old. The title track even nodding towards Jhelisa's best-known recording, "Friendly Pressure."

On the odd occasion where the tempos do dip to hip-swaggering bump 'n' grind territory she does seems a little at odds with the material. But, like Mica, Vanessa possesses a wonderful voice and individualistic delivery and approach; one that the ears never seem to tire of. I suspect the best is yet to come.

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