13 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The daughter of a deacon and a choir director, Chrisette Michelle possesses a voice bathed in the purity of gospel music, and with Epiphany she adapts her superlative vocals to a modern pop-R&B setting. Pop prodigy Ne-Yo wrote almost half of the album’s 13 songs, including the title track and “What You Do,” two singles that luxuriate in Michelle’s sincerity and the sweetness of the hooks. Nothing on Epiphany is too rushed or overblown, and Michelle doesn’t have to belt it out to capture the listener’s attention. She has a supple, versatile voice, and even in the melodramatic ballads and dance songs there are underpinnings of jazz phrasing. It’s not hard to see why Michelle has been a favorite collaborator of elder rappers like Nas, Ghostface Killah and Jay-Z. Those artists emphasize emotion and storytelling, and Michelle has maturity and depth of feeling that is hard to find among young singers. Epiphany forgoes the gimmicks of modern R&B, and shows that integrity, sincerity and practiced skill are not mutually exclusive to mainstream appeal.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The daughter of a deacon and a choir director, Chrisette Michelle possesses a voice bathed in the purity of gospel music, and with Epiphany she adapts her superlative vocals to a modern pop-R&B setting. Pop prodigy Ne-Yo wrote almost half of the album’s 13 songs, including the title track and “What You Do,” two singles that luxuriate in Michelle’s sincerity and the sweetness of the hooks. Nothing on Epiphany is too rushed or overblown, and Michelle doesn’t have to belt it out to capture the listener’s attention. She has a supple, versatile voice, and even in the melodramatic ballads and dance songs there are underpinnings of jazz phrasing. It’s not hard to see why Michelle has been a favorite collaborator of elder rappers like Nas, Ghostface Killah and Jay-Z. Those artists emphasize emotion and storytelling, and Michelle has maturity and depth of feeling that is hard to find among young singers. Epiphany forgoes the gimmicks of modern R&B, and shows that integrity, sincerity and practiced skill are not mutually exclusive to mainstream appeal.

TITLE TIME
13

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