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Music Review: R&B singer Tamia is consistent on 5th CD

Music Review: R&B singer Tamia is consistent on 5th CD

Tamia, "Beautiful Surprise" (Plus 1 Music Group)

August 28th, 2012 by STACY A. ANDERSON, Associated Press in News

Tamia, whose voice is one of music's most powerful - and underrated - should be among the ranks of divas like Aretha, Chaka, Mariah and Beyonce. But her 17-year career hasn't translated to chart-topping songs and multiplatinum album sales.

Despite that, the R&B songstress - best known for the hits "Stranger in My House" and "Into You" with Fabolous - has released four outstanding albums, including her stellar 1998 self-titled debut, which featured production work by Quincy Jones and Jermaine Dupri. Tamia's fifth release, "Beautiful Surprise," is another consistent effort, filled with soulful ballads and midtempo grooves.

The album's biggest - and best - surprise is Tamia's take on country music. She nicely remakes Wynonna Judd's "Is It Over Yet," and "Still" is a beautiful, twang-inspired version of a song from her third album, "More." Her bold leap into a new genre makes up for some of the album's shortcomings, including the lukewarm first single and title track, produced by frequent Amy Winehouse collaborator Salaam Remi.

The 11-track set - her second independent release - also includes bouncy tunes like "Lose My Mind" and "Believe in Love," both produced by the Runners (Rick Ross, Rihanna, Usher). Fellow singer Jazmine Sullivan co-writes and sings background on the power ballad "Still Love You," which finds Tamia stretching her voice to new heights.

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: On the soul-stirring gospel tune "Because of You," Tamia wonderfully returns to her church roots.