Thursday, April 05, 2012

Terea' - It's Up 2 You

It’s Up 2 You
25 Keys Productions

By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog.

On her debut CD, It’s Up 2 You, singer-songwriter Terea’ – known to her fans as the “songbird” – blends techno sounds with hip hop beats and neo-soul vocals.

The songs on It’s Up 2 You feel intensely personal.  The title track is the most distinctly autobiographical, as Newark-born Terea’ sings about her mother, who made ends meet to care for her young daughters. Mama’s determination left an impression on the adult Terea’, who concludes, “Don’t let life get the best of you.” God gives us free will, and “what you choose is up 2 you.”

Tracks such as “Stay,” “He’ll Never Leave” and the single, “My Friend,” depict Jesus as a father, protector, and friend who is always there to help, despite our human failings and frailties. Even when others gave up on her, Terea’ sings, Jesus never did and never will.

The most distinctive album selection is “Rock Bottom."  It is a moody, ambient song of encouragement on which Terea’ sings that it’s tough to hit rock bottom, but then again, the bottom is where the firm foundation is. The song reminds me of the tenet: “When you hit bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.”

While it is clear that Terea’s interest is in gospel with a heavy beat, and 25 Keys Productions lays down an assortment of them for her, the singer shines best on the two final tracks, which are melodic and rich in their understatement. “My Everything” is a gentle prayer of praise sung in whispered tones and with keyboard accompaniment. Similarly, “Secret Place” gives Terea’ space to embellish, express and extend vocal lines.

I had a bit of trouble following the song order as the track listing on the CD jacket is not 100 percent accurate. Nevertheless, Terea has a lovely voice and It’s Up 2 You is a decent debut. I hope her sophomore project features more straight singing with the piano, because that's her sweet spot.

Three of Five Stars

Picks: “Rock Bottom,” “My Everything.”

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