LeJuene Thompson arrives as a solo artist with a formidable rÉsumÉ in hand.

LeJuene Thompson arrives as a solo artist with a formidable résumé in hand. As a featured vocalist for gospel chart-toppers Donald Lawrence & the Tri-City Singers, she sang lead on the group's early-2001 gospel-splashed dancefloor hit, "Testify," which was remixed for the clubs by DJ/producer Junior Vasquez. While Soul Inspiration ably attests to Thompson's mastery of hook-laden, in-your-face funk ("Deliverance," "You Brought the Sunshine"), it also allows for much musical exploration. The artist struts impressive jazz chops on "Born Again" and shines on the smooth, R&B-tinged "How Can You Walk Away." With lyrics that are strongly but never stridently gospel, Thompson and her hit-making producer/ husband Cedric Thompson display ears that are obviously familiar with such secular counterparts as TLC, Lauryn Hill, and Mary J. Blige—as well as gospel sisters Trin-i-tee 5:7. After nearly a decade on the periphery of stardom, Thompson seems poised to make a leap into the limelight.—GE