(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