Chapter 1: Love, Pain & Forgiveness

With a seasoned sound that belies her 24 years, Syleena Johnson comes by her chops naturally: Dad is '70s R&B/blues singer Syl Johnson.

With a seasoned sound that belies her 24 years, Syleena Johnson comes by her chops naturally: Dad is '70s R&B/blues singer Syl Johnson. But unlike many contemporary singer/songwriters in her age bracket, Johnson knows how to work what she's got to full effect. Her bluesy, gut-wrenched vocals—reminiscent of such full-throttle singers as Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Betty Wright, and Millie Jackson—provide the perfect narration for this concept album, which retraces her personal story of romance gone bad. Armed with I-feel-you lyrics ("I can't find the strength to tell you we're through/And I can't find the hate to fool around on you"), plus anthem single "I Am Your Woman" by fellow Chicagoan R. Kelly, Johnson is a formidable R&B force field. Let's hope she gets the chance to be heard.—GM

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