Moving Forward is the seven-track debut CD of BET Sunday Best Season 4 first runner-up Andrea Helms. Produced by H. Doobie Powell and released earlier this month, the album is a compilation of the contemporary gospel and P&W songs that carried Helms to the finals of the popular television program.
Helms' version of Mary Mary’s “Yesterday” is the album’s crowning achievement because it features her soulful emotionality and arsenal of blue notes in ways the other songs do not. Walter Hawkins’ “Changed” runs a strong second, but not because Helms tries to emulate Tremaine’s iconic vocals; instead, she glazes her smooth and even tones onto the track. She also incorporates her personal testimony into the selection. As a child, the singer was told she would never walk or talk, “oh, but my God had a bigger plan for me!” Helms should consider recording a whole album of Hawkins classics.
The title track sounds like a motivational selection and it is, but not in the cliché “just do it” manner. On this R&B-juiced piece, written by Ricardo Sanchez during the Sunday Best finale, Helms sings that she is moving first towards God in discipleship. That, in turn, propels her life forward.
On Richard Smallwood’s “I Love the Lord,” Helms interpolates some of the late Whitney Houston’s playful vocal jumps but what sells the song are the quiet moments in between, when she sings with a soft purr. Helms' tranquil warble gives proof of her classical vocal training.