When you think of Great Britain’s contribution to popular music many names pop up. Where would rock music be without the Beatles? And who would master the art of balladry if it wasn’t for Elton John? George Michael and The Spice Girls might be fads of the past for many, but the impact they have had is undeniable.
Britpop has always filtered in stateside and reshaped music. But one field British music has yet to fully invade is R&B and Soul.
Ever since Craig David surfaced and proved that English-accented rhymes make for good records, not much British soul was being supported. Remember the instant fading of Des’ree or Soul II Soul? What about Lisa Stansfield or All Saints? Artists have to come to this side of the Atlantic, like Floetry did, to even have a chance.
Britsoul hasn’t made it big, considering Britain’s manufactured-band-heavy charts and fetish with dance music. However, many recent artists such as Mis-Teeq and Beverly Knight seem to have some staying power.
One damsel who has shaken things up is Ms. Dynamite. With her direct lyrics and smooth grooves, her debut “A Little Deeper” seemed to offer an daring look into a youngster’s life and a set-list of songs that are street-smart, yet delightfully preachy.
Her sudden appearance out of nowhere made her a buzzworthy artist on MTV, with her latest single “It Takes Time” having more meaning in its lyrics then the entirety of the top 20 songs combined.
“A Little Deeper” is an honest journey into a driven girl’s life. That is the reason why debut albums, in most cases, turn out to be the best albums. It seems like Ms. Dynamite had so much energy whilst making the album that everything is crammed into one CD with 16 tracks.
However, the songs are not a let-down. “Brother” is a heart-wrenching ditty with a realistic twist and “Put Him Out” starts out with the one chord Santana knows how to play but then bursts into a very exciting and robust song. The second U.K. single “Dy-ma-mi-tee” is a sing-a-long number that comes after the interlude “Natural High” exclaiming Ms. Dynamite’s pride in being drug-free.
“Sick ‘n’ Tired” continues the album’s politically conscious mode, tackling issues of racism, sexism and gun-control — that might seem like a hard task, but not for an adamant lyricist like this one.
Kymani Marley makes an appearance on a standout track “Seed Will Grow” and Barrington Levy guests on “Too Experienced.” But the real gift on the album is “Now U Want My Love,” a song that is supported by its vulnerable lyrics and Ms. Dynamite’s deep vocals.
A star is born. If radio is wise enough — since its current taste is highly disappointing — then they would give this smart-ass a chance to flourish. Maybe this time we can have a new artist worthy of acknowledgement — not the likes of Kelly Clarkson.
Her next album is rumored to be called “A Little Darker” — and there is a baby on the way ,too.
Al-Qatami can be reacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.