As the year winds down, there are several CDs that were big hits in 2006: Van Hunt, The Brand New Heavies and Corrine Bailey Rae just to name a few. Well, add Joy Denalane to that list. Her second album "Born & Raised is only available through iTunes, and we can only hope that the record company she's signed to (Nesola) can negotiate a distribution deal, so the masses can discover what a wonderful album this is.
The daughter of a German mother and a South African father, Joy has enlisted an impressive list of producers like No ID (Common), Jake One (De La Soul, Choklate) and Anthony Tidd. Not to mention that the entire album was recording with live instrumentation at Philadelphia's studio. A. Joy displays her vocal talent as well as her appreciation for 70s soul music on "Be Real", a song that will make you think of one of Aretha Franklin's great recordings from the Atlantic era. On "Change, Feat Lupe Fiasco", Joy makes her feelings known in regard to what's going on in the world today. On "For the love", Joy laments the lack of artistry that fills the airwaves. While those sentiments have been echoed many times, the sincerity is evident in her voice.
As I listened to this album over and over, I tried to find the weakest link in this chain of great songs. There isn't any! This is an excellent mix of soul, smoothed out hip-hop beats and live instrumentation. There is no doubt that Joy is a great vocal talent who has something to say. Do yourself a favor and check out "Born & Raised".