Syleena Johnson's soulful, full-bodied voice debuted last year by way of her first Jive album, Chapter 1: Love, Pain & Forgiveness.
Syleena Johnson's soulful, full-bodied voice debuted last year by way of her first Jive album, Chapter 1: Love, Pain & Forgiveness. But the album's thematic focus on a relationship gone bad didn't translate into commercial success and overshadowed the singer/songwriter's considerable vocal talent. Now Johnson has completed the next chapter—a more balanced entry whose main character is, rightfully, her voice. A throwback to such earthy singers as Betty Wright and Chaka Khan, Johnson comes by her chops naturally, as the daughter of bluesman Syl Johnson. And it's her natural, I'm-every-woman feel that nourishes this satisfying set produced by Hi-Tek and Ivan Barias & Carvin Haggins (Musiq), among others. Whether professing her faithfulness and devotion ("Faithful to You," "Now That I Got You"), letting loose sexually ("Tonight I'm Gonna Let Go"), or doing a sultry cover (Alicia Myers' "If You Play Your Cards Right"), Johnson's voice commands deserved attention—and appreciation.—GM