Many of you outside of the music industry probably wonder how so many music writers seem so knowledgeable about every musician no matter how obscure. Well, we’re hyper-nerds who could use our brain cells to better use. But, we also have a little help, one-sheets. These are sent by the labels to hype up their artists. Sometimes helpful, a lot of times they are horribly written in tones of orgiastic hyperbole and filled with confusing statements like this: “The world has waited long enough for the emergence of scintillating Soul Sister. KeKe Wyatt, who, throughout her elementary, junior high and high school (where she was the vocal favorite of her principal) years, she sang in the choir, glee clubs, talent shows, parties and anywhere she could practice her chosen craft.” Of course, what else can you really write about a 20-year-old hottie who has been signed to a major for her looks rather than the chops she’s earned? Well, you can make not-so-subtle comparisons to Aretha, Stevie, Miss LaBelle, Donnie Hathaway, and Ella Fitzgerald — which, of course, they do.
All this is to geek you up on the album before you listen and write. But, we do listen, and no matter of hyperbole can drown out the mediocrity coming out of our stereo. Looking at the cover and listening to the disc, one realizes that somebody’s libido clogged their ears when it comes to KeKe Wyatt. Yes, she is beautiful, but her looks are the only extraordinary thing about her.
Soul Sista has very little to offer the R&B world. Perhaps, some marketing exec thought Alicia Keys when seeing Wyatt. But, as dubious as the former’s talent is, Wyatt is even more so. I will gladly admit that her duet with Avant, “I Can’t Wait,” is a legitimate dance hit. Also, her cover of sista Patti’s “If Only You Knew” shows that KeKe may one day be a good singer. However, on the sweet ballad, her voice frays on the outer edges (and well, it’s always a mistake to cover LaBelle). Everywhere else her voice gets clogged up in the nasal passages in her best neo-Stevie/trying-to-be-Mary-J. imitation.
Perhaps if KeKe would’ve had a few years to actually hone her skills, then the world would’ve hailed the solo debut of this former child of Destiny. However, in a mad music rush for the cash, MCA has released a babe into the woods who really doesn’t have the skills to survive. Of course, if she gets to ride the marketing machine available to MCA, who knows where she can go? After all, she is quite… photogenic.
MCA Records: http://www.mcarecords.com