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This Is Who I Am

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Album Review

Though she didn't come out of the R&B tradition, Heather Headley has plenty of soul on her debut, This Is Who I Am. Headley, a singer whose vocal strength isn't mere compensation for a lack of interpretive skills or lame songwriting, possesses a range that's surprising and welcome; she slips on dramatic personas continually here, quite ironic considering the title. The arrangements aren't exactly hooky, but the cast of producers — including Dallas Austin, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and D'Influence, use everything in their power — from a Hammond B-3 to synthesizers — to flesh out these songs. Occasionally, the songs don't reflect their age very well, as on the regrets of a stay-at-home girlfriend ("I Wish I Wasn't") or an increasingly angry housewife who's been neglected ("Like Ya Used To"). The opener, "He Is" (by songwriter/producer Joshua Nile), is very good though — an intriguing angle on female thoughts about the male side of love (or, just possibly, a look at the aspects of God). Headley sounds excellent throughout, her voice pure as crystal on the ballads, occasionally outré in similar fashion to Mariah Carey, but gritty and soulful when she's sorting out the responsibilities of a relationship in "Fulltime."

Biography

Born: 05 October 1974 in Barataria, Trinidad

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

R&B vocalist Heather Headley was born in Trinidad in the mid-'70s. At an early age, this daughter of a pastor was surrounded by music and performance art. She started playing concert piano by the age of four, later immersing herself in the eclectic music of her culture: calypso, soca, and reggae. This foundation would later motivate Headley to sing professionally. Upon arriving in the States with her family at age 15, Headley quickly adapted to America's ways. She soaked up American music...
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This Is Who I Am, Heather Headley
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