Poised to become this generation’s ambassador of R&B and soul, Melinda Doolittle will release her hotly-anticipated debut solo album, Coming Back to You, on Hi Fi Recordings in February 2009. Featuring production by Grammy-nominated producer Mike Mangini (Joss Stone, Run DMC, The Jonas Brothers), Melinda’s debut solo album is an R&B tour de force that combines the fiery electricity of Tina Turner’s early years with the slick production and lush instrumentation of today’s pop-soul renaissance. Recorded with a team of live musicians in Nashville and New York City, Coming Back to You displays Melinda’s extraordinary talent and versatility as a vocalist and sees her seamlessly transcend genres as she combines R&B, soul, blues, jazz and funk to create a sound all her own. From the first note, Melinda reaches back into a rich pool of musical influences and carries the torch of the greats – Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle – into the musical landscape of today.
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JUSTICE IS SERVED ON FAVORITE “AI” FINALISTS’ FIRST SET| Posted August 18, 2009
Having been trumped in the final hours of “American Idol” Season 6 by some unforeseen reality TV coup, Melinda Doolittle’s premature elimination has been criticized as the greatest injustice in the reality show’s historic eight-year run.
But listen up. The soul sister is getting revenge, and boy does it sound sweet. Boasting vintage strings, dirty tambourines, chiming bells, one perfectly placed horn hit after another and the funkiest three part background vocals this side of the ’60s, Coming Back to You is completely retro but brilliantly modern, a mature R&B/funk debut to balance today’s pop/rock tween scene.
One of only a handful of legitimately superstar “American Idol” alumni, Doolittle’s instrument has consistently, and fairly, been compared to the feverish Tina Turner. But the throwback vocalist has an even wider range of nuance. Consider Patti Labelle’s whiny runs and Gladys Knight’s passionate interpretations, and Doolittle sounds like a singer born in the wrong era.
Songs covered include Bonnie Raitt’s “Fundamental Things,” Doris Day’s “I’ll Never Stop Loving You” and a pair of Robert Johnson blues standards—“Dust My Broom” and “Walking Blues”—both having been covered by countless artists from various genres over the years.
But curious Christian audience shouldn’t expect a great revelation here. Though Melinda was well acquainted with the gospel music industry well before her “AI” stint, these 12 tracks consult the heavens very little, at least lyrically. Even so, Melinda’s gospel-driven, preach-it-girl pipes make Coming Back to You a religious experience all its own.
And yeah, from song to song the record sounds much the same. But it all sounds good. So forget Doolittle’s silly little grin and hesitant demeanor; this girl means business, and the fiery gumption of Coming Back to You proves it. –Andrew Greer
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CCMMagazine.com. Click here to visit CCMMagazine.com today!