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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hadiza - Chapter 4

Hadiza - Chapter 4
2013, Hadiza

Hadiza Dockeray represents the American Dream. The New York City native (St. Albans, Queens) is the daughter of Nigerian and Jamaican parents. It was while living and working in Paris as a dancer and backing vocalist that Hadiza discovered her own desire to be out in front on stage. Beginning with interpretations of Jazz standards, Hadiza later found herself covering old blues joints and eventually writing her own original mix of pop, R&B, jazz and blues.  Since returning to the U.S., Hadiza has established herself as one of the pre-eminent working vocalists in New York City.  Her most recent EP, Chapter 4, is a fitting, though at times uneven, introduction to Hadiza.

Hadiza opens with "All Comes Back", a smoky and vibrant piece of pop and R&B.  With a voice that recalls elements of Cassandra Wilson, Hadiza certainly has presence. "Off The Grid" is more of a soulful rocker. There's definite punch here, underscored by the powerful guitar riff. This is a catchy tune that will get inside your head and stick there. "Too Long" goes for a mix of Adult Contemporary and classic Girl Pop. The song itself is perhaps a bit bland, but Hadiza shines.

"Somebody Better" is snappy and soulful with a bit of fire at its heart, and Hadiza sells it with a gritty determination. "The Other Voice" is perhaps an attempt to broaden Hadiza's appeal, incorporating a Latin rhythm into an otherwise average pop song. The result drags a bit and may lose a few listeners. Unfortunately, Hadiza closes out with an unfortunate song choice. "Break Through" is not a comfortable spot for Hadiza's voice to be in, and her performance and presence suffer for it. This is one of those occasions where an artist probably should have just left the last track off. 

You’ll walk away from Chapter 4 bearing the conclusion that Hadiza Dockeray is a brilliant vocalist.  She takes chances with her music, and those chances don’t always work out in her favor on Chapter 4, but the voice and the presence she projects will capture your attention.  Don’t be surprised if Hadiza Dockeray is a name that you become very familiar with over time.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

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