sometimes things take a little time to get right. i’m not talking britney spears in a meringue dress growling her way through early 90s hits on the mickey mouse club, or a pre-makeover jennifer lopez looking butch on in living color.
these are the early recordings that got feet in doors. some of them are better than others. that’s my disclaimer right there.
luther vandross – the second time around (1976)
luther was originally part of a group, called ‘luther’. ooh, premature diva anyone? this song was from the first of two albums in 1976 and is standard mid 70s soul. he also sang an ad for kfc around the same time…soul food indeed.
alicia keys – sexy thing (1997)
a very young ms keys contributed this track to the men in black soundtrack. she sounds more or less the same but had developed a more unique tone by the time of her debut four years later.
ashanti – can’t stop (1997)
not sure how ashanti clung on for five years to make the leap from low budget debut to murder inc and innumerable collaborations with ja rule. these days an artist is stuffed if they don’t create a buzz on myspace within five weeks.
biggie – party and bullshit (1993)
nice lumberjack’n’fire-in-keg era hiphop. a year later, ‘ready to die’ was released and the rest is sad history. no doubt he would be the biggest rapper in the game if he were still alive.
leona lewis – private party (2004)
recorded with ludacris before her appearance on x factor 2006, it makes you wonder if the music industry just sits back and waits for tv to tell them who to sign? well, good for her for going the proper route and being too nice to do anything unsavoury to get ahead.
usher – call me a mack (1993)
usher was only 14 when he recorded this for the poetic justice soundtrack and it shows. did usher’s early foray into the adult music business inspire his preference for older women? you’d think he could do better than a he-woman though.
john legend – hurt so bad (2003)
i think i might prefer jl’s early work to his current album. hmm. or maybe live just suits him better. he did several live sets before releasing a studio album.
janet jackson – young love (1982)
if a jackson couldn’t score a hit in 1982, you would assume it was because the music was poor. janet’s first two albums are quality post-disco soul but i think people were just expecting something a bit more groundbreaking. which ‘control’ certainly was.
mariah carey – weakness of the body (1986)
well, the leona lewis story seems to be repeating history to an extent. mariah was certainly active for several years before her debut and whitney was recording since the late 70s. maybe this is the secret to a long lasting career. rihanna’s stuffed, then…
anthony hamilton – total xtc (1996)
…but hopefully this bodes well for anthony, whose 90s debut was totally overlooked. the style is more conscious of its time than his successful later efforts, and not as well thought out, but very listenable.
prince – just another sucker (1977)
19 year old prince recorded this track as part of his then band 94 east. could have easily slotted into one of his later albums. must have sounded amazing in 1977 – to those few who actually got to hear it.
destiny’s child – killing time (1997)
this is a nice but unremarkable slow jam from the men in black soundtrack, but those vocals and harmonies are there. i miss the original lineup. wish some unreleased material would surface, that would be interesting.