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Fresh and Retro
Posted November 29, 2017
By DwayneLacy_NRT, Staff Reviewer

There may be a new trend starting after listening to Cheryl Fortune's debut solo album.

Cheryl Fortune has been through a whirlwind of storms and things that would have broken down even the strongest of women. Cheryl was the "sound" of James Fortune and Fiya for many years, and she also served as co-writer on several of their colossal hits. Unfortunately, her marriage to James ended in divorce. Then Cheryl and her kids were displaced during Hurricane Harvey. With all that she has been through, the release of her debut album Simply Cheryl was perfectly timed. 

Producer/multi-instrumentalist Lucius Hoskins and Cheryl came together to form LuDawn music, an imprint under Tyscot Records. Hoskins intently listened to Cheryl's heart. Along with Cedric Smith, Terrance Vaughn, B. Slade and more, they were able to put together one trailblazing project. The new album has the feeling of the throwback jams of the past, coupled with the Pop and Urban stylings of today. 

Cheryl loves the "vibes" for 90s music, and she definitely takes us back to the late 80s and early 90s in songs such as "Nobody." This one has Cheryl channeling her inner Bobby Brown and Karyn White with the heavy drum machine and synth that was the epitome of a dance track during that era. She expresses her joy that no one can come close to loving her like God can. "For A Night" is my jam. This high-energy dance track has a hint of Janet Jackson's "Pleasure Principle," but you will not be able to get enough of it once you listen. Anthony Williams (B.Slade) wrote this one, with Terrance Williams providing the production and instrumentation. 

I am a native Houstonian, so "Don't Apologize" makes me think of my city with the trap/dirty south beat courtesy of Cedric Smith. Cheryl kills this one without a lot of tricks, carried by her sheer confidence and tone while singing how she is blessed despite what she has been through. The vibes continues with "Figure It Out," inviting us to sit back, relax and let God handle things that are beyond our control. Terrance Vaughn and B. Slade team up again to provide the music and lyrics (co-written by Cheryl). Steve Collins, Jr. throws in the icing on the cake: the talkbox. This is what it would sound like if the late Roger Troutman produced Gospel music during his heyday.

The lead single "Fighters" serves as a song of empowerment for those who need motivation to get up and push through any obstacle. Lucius Hoskins produces, bringing in a marching band to really give it an "anthem approach." One treat is the inclusion of Cheryl's and Lucius's children on the chorus. Cheryl gets real on the rock driven ballad "Lost in the Crowd," and then she tears it up on "Give It Up." On the latter, you really feel the emotions and the passion of her giving all that she has experienced to God. At her album listening party, this song brought the whole place to their feet, making it even more special.

The Bottom Line: Through her pain and struggle, Cheryl has birthed an album that is sure to start a trend of more throwback songs. This was just what the industry needed: energy, a few looks back at the joy of the past, fresh new sounds, a reminder of God's working in our lives and yes-- vibes. 

For Fans Of: Janice Gaines, Keyondra Lockett, Erica Campbell, Tina Campbell

Songs to Download Now
"Lost in the Crowd" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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