For me, the heart of any memorable song is a vocalist's ability to emotionally connect with her audience. Ironically then, with the rise of the superstar DJ over the last decade it is rare to see a vocalist billed as a headliner. While this is a topic for another day, I wanted to give props to some of the ladies that have inspired me to make house music.
Paris Gray and Inner City - Whatcha gonna do with my loving?
Her smooth vocals made this cover of a Stephanie Mills track into an original interpretation. I absolutely love her understated but seductive delivery. I remember thinking, back in the day, that I hadn't experienced enough amour to convey the smooch factor of this track. I was right. I can still only do it justice when I'm loved up to the hilt!
India and MAW - To be in love
Nuyorican soul diva India sings about the joy of being in love with being crass or getting overly soppy. She manages to convey sincerity without losing the uptempo vibe of the track.
Shara Nelson and Massive Attack - Safe from Harm
Good lyrics have always been my thing. I've always believed that singing own thoughts makes one a better vocalist and Shara Nelson provides the perfect example. Her vocals in Safe from Harm make me feel like I'm walking with her, staring down all those dodgy people and hoping my guy will be alright. This is a thought provoking, reflective track from her and Massive Attack, who in my opinion remain unrivaled in pioneering innovative dance music.
Martha Walsh and Blackbox - Everybody
Walsh's superb vocals prove that she can sing anything, including dudd lyrics, and make it sound good. As an aside, the original release of this single was in the Milli Vanilli era, and all to predictably, some brainwave decided to replace Martha Walsh and use a forgettable model in the video. Funny that, as watching Martha would have been far more entertaining than suffering through a charisma challenged woman lip syncing dreadfully.