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Virginia-born singer/songwriter Nicole Wray has everything you’d want in a singer: an infectious Memphis-style soul, a range like Aretha Franklin’s, and a church upbringing that’s brought a pure, healing texture to her voice. The struggles she’s been through has made her more than a singer. Nicole Wray is an artist.  And an incredible one, at that.

The track “Do It Again” has a cool vibe and an infectious groove, yet isn’t candy/fluff; she’s singing with a lot of firepower behind a classic arrangement with pianos, background vocals and horns (think Willie Mitchell’s Hi Records-style); “In Love” (Don’t Mess Things Up)” has a sweetness that shows Ms. Wray’s range, recalling the early ’70’s Stax style (I know, I can’t help myself) and “Make Me Over” is slow, jazzy and her voice has a not overt sexiness that makes you hear her message clearly.  “Underneath My Feet” is a sly swamp rocker that shuffles along and rocks (it sounds like it just walked out of 1968); “Bad Girl” is easily a single – catchy, infectious – and again, to draw comparisons, reminds me of late ’60’s/early ’70’s Motown and “Smiling” is crisp and uplifting.  This is an album that has so much to dive into and devour – with ease.

When talking about Queen Alone, her first solo album in quite some time, Ms. Wray explains, “It’s a reflection of my soul. It’s who I am today.” Very apt. Released on Brooklyn’s Big Crown Records, Ms. Wray is writing and singing songs about her life.  And those reflections are dynamic and hard-hitting.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Queen Alone is available now

www.bigcrownrecords.com/artists/lady-wray/

About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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