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Heather Headley
Pop


Broadway diva Heather Headley left her Tony Award-winning stint as the lead in Elton John's pop-rock version of the grand opera Aida to pursue a recording career. The result is This Is Who I Am, a sophisticated blend of gospel-inspired R&B, India.Arie-esque neo-soul, and pop produced by ber-producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson), Shep Crawford (Yolanda Adams), and Dallas Austin (TLC). The recurring theme of This Is Who I Am is love, and Headley engagingly sings about romance's joys (the homage to good men "He Is") and pains (the kick-that-triflin'-man-to-the-curb mid-tempo jam "Fulltime"). Each track showcases a different facet of the dynamic singer's persona and the versatility of her rich, stage-honed, honey-coated vocals. Headley's star has shone brightest on Broadway, and indeed, her flair for the dramatic helps to infuse this set of 12 songs with excitement. From the quietly stirring Jam and Lewis-produced ballad "I Wish I Wasn't" to the sassy, Austin-produced blues-stomp "Like Ya Use To" to Crawford's Toni Braxton-reminiscent power ballad "Always Been Your Girl," the splendid This Is Who I Am heralds Headley's arrival as a new R&B and pop sensation. Tracy E. Hopkins

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