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Damita CD Cover
Image © 2000 Atlantic Records 

(04 September 2000) The debut self-titled album from Damita Haddon is available on Atlantic records from September 26. With her gospel R&B singing style, Damita inspires, moves and delivers the "Truth" and the beauty of "Life," or the passionate questing of "Why." Inspired by her faith, Damita's emotion has become a trademark sound. The Detroit native is no novice. She's sung with Aretha Franklin—"It was a humbling experience, having one of the greatest singers in the world ask me to sing with her"—a seasoned stage performer and the wife of Gospel star Deitrick Haddon.

Fresh out of high school, Damita toured with the Gospel theater production Mama Don't. She realized that this was what she was meant to be doing with her life. Now with a new group of R&B producers, Damita could create the sound she was looking for. Damita says that it "added the hot sauce—the pepper—to the mix. They helped give me the urban street edge."

Damita recognizes the source of her trademark sound. "The songs on the album lyrically can go both ways. They can either be about a loved one or God. But no matter what kind of music you're singing, you know that God has placed this finger or even his fingernail upon it. It's something you just can't copy."

"Why," "Truth," "Life" and "Spirit Inside" have this strong R&B edge to them that makes you want to move to the music. However, if you sit and listen to the words carefully, Damita's voice tells the meaning of her music and its very powerful. "Cavalry" sets the first four tracks apart from this one. The first ballad on the album is a beautifully sung religious song that brings out Damita's voice. The upbeat track "Hold On To Your Faith" adds a gospel choir and rich instrumental arrangements that blend nicely with Damita's voice. The track clearly emerges from the rest as one of the best on the album. "I Can Feel Him" has a more of an R&B beat where her style is most reminscent of R&B artist Monica. The words on each of these tracks are very powerful, are delivered by the artist evocatively and shouldn't be taken lightly.

"If I Ever" and "Won't Be Afraid" are upbeat ballads more of an R&B style than Gospel. However the Gospel comes out again in the words of the songs. "Real Friend" takes Damita's faith into the song and shows that Christ is her way and her faith. "The Wedding Song," "Day Go By" and "Holdin' On," all ballads, are sung by Damita more in a soul style than anything else. It is a beatiful flow of voice and words that are so moving to the human ear.

Damita is very interested in reaching fresh ears and the hearts and minds of the young. "I'm sure they'll like the music," she says, "because they'll know I haven't forgotten them. And they want to be heard. Music plays a big part in how kids react. We've got to communicate. Sometimes you can get a little too "urban" or sometimes a little too "mature." That's why the album strikes a balance."

Produced by leading cutting edge hip-hop Atlanta producer Arif Martin and husband Deitrick Haddon, Damita adds the diverse depth and grace that is needed for a world class album. You can order Damita's self-titled album, read editorial reviews and hear soundbites at amazon.com here. A well-produced R&B Gospel crossover album, it is a very nice listen!—Deborah J Elliot

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