Sonya Kitchell's rare gift may result from some fortuitous conspiracy of genetics and environment, or it may be the manifestation of something more mystical -- but there's certainly no denying her exceptional talent. Kitchell is an eloquent songwriter, dazzling singer and old soul who just happens to be 17 years of age.
This budding artist's extraordinary gift lies not just in her songs and singing but in the decisions she makes within both realms. To hear where Kitchell chooses to go, one moment to the next, in any of these songs is to experience, all at once, her taste, her preternatural musical savvy and her depth -- as in deep. Once the novelty of this has worn off, the listener can simply soak up the myriad pleasures and insights of Kitchell's debut album, Words Came Back To Me (to be released April 4, 2006, by Velour and Starbucks Hear Music), because this artist's achievements are without caveat -- Kitchell is the real deal, pure and simple.
The album is an understated, largely acoustic affair, seamlessly melding elements of jazz, R&B, folk and other roots forms in a song-serving, rather than genre-adhering, way. There is undeniable warmth and wholesomeness to Kitchell's dusky alto, but just as evident is a knowingness that is ageless and timeless. From song to song, she manifests a warmth reminiscent of Carole King (""I'd Love You""), the gossamer touch of Joni Mitchell (""Words""), the soulfulness of Van Morrison (""Let Me Go""), the yearning of Al Green (""Can't Get You Out of My Mind"") and the structural sophistication of Burt Bacharach (""Tinted Glass""), and yet the sound is all her own, unadorned, authentic and from the heart.
Click HERE to check out Sonya's performance on the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson that aired on 6/22.
Sonya was recently featured on NPR's All Things Considered. Click HERE to listen to the segment.
Sonya's new album, Words Came Back To Me, is out now.Get it on Sonya's website or on iTunes or at your local Starbucks.
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