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If Leah Labelle looks familiar, you likely saw her as a teen on season 3 of “American Idol” (Fantasia Barrino’s season). Placing 12th and eliminated way too early in the competition, Labelle’s strong and soulful vocals didn’t get a proper opportunity to shine. I was always hoped that someone would offer her a substantial recording contract. In 2011, the singer inked a deal with Epic Records/So So Def Recordings/I Am Other (associated with producer Pharrell Williams). Her 1st official single “Sexify” shows off her voice, but the content about trying to lure a guy back by vamping yourself up, I don’t care for. Below is a track that surfaced on the internet and to hear a recording from her days at “Idol,”click here.
You know Kelly Rowland; the cup of hot chocolate that was 1/3 of Destiny’s Child, one of the biggest-selling girl groups of all time. Many have been wooed by the burst of sexuality that was Rowland’s single, “Motivation,” and its subsequent album “Here I Am,” but I am not. I can understand the 30-year-old singer wanting to mature her sound and express that part of herself, but I find the manner in which sex has been approached to be kind of tacky. Loving to hear Rowland’s voice, but frustrated with her new material, I went back to the previous album, “Ms. Kelly;” a well-written, intimate R&B album that sadly received little record label support and promotion. An associated, equally great EP, “Diva Deluxe,” was released and from it spun the track, “Love Again.” I wanted to profile this song because I believe it’s a jewel more people should discover.
KATHARINE MCPHEE: Not UR Girl
Another slept on record was Katharine McPhee’s self-titled pop/R&B debut that came shortly after she placed 2nd to Taylor Hicks on “American Idol” season 5 (we’re “Idoling” it up today). With more R&B influence than expected (a pleasant surprise), McPhee’s sweet vocals delivered on an enjoyable, fun album. Check out my favorite track, “Not UR Girl” below.