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Breaking Through
Just when you thought it was time to give up on new music and return to the safety of old favourites, along comes an onslaught of fresh new tunes that will have your head spinning! The Record handpicks eight artists from wide-ranging genres and insists that you check them out. Happy listening!

When Beyonce Met Britney Met J.Lo…
Note This Name: AMERIE

The Lowdown: Born in Washington DC this 25-year-old daughter of a military officer has lived across the world. Her African-American father and Korean mother instilled an appreciation of the arts in the young singer who pursued her musical dreams till she landed a deal that led to the release of All I Have, her 2002 debut album. The record went gold and after supporting it with a major tour the singer did the unexpected – she took a creative break, dabbling in acting, with a leading role in hit romantic comedy First Daughter alongside Katie Holmes and Michael Keaton and hosting a television show. Creative exploration complete, she returned to music. The result of that effort is her 2005 sophomore release, Touch. Amerie worked not just as a singer, but as executive producer, with talented musical partners including Dre and Vidal, Lil' Jon, Red Spyda, and solo stars Nas, and rapper Eve. She says, "My first album was very well received and I was really happy about that. But I'm in a different place in my life now, and I wanted this album to reflect that.”

The Music: The stand-out track on this album is definitely Touch. With its breathy, driving groove and exotic instrumentation, it is destined to be a club hit. Produced by Lil' Jon the track reflects Amerie’s new direction perfectly. She says, "At the end of the day the music speaks for itself. And even though it's only my second album, I definitely think that I've established my own lane."

Artist Most Likely To Live Up To His Moniker…
Note This Name: JOHN LEGEND

The Lowdown: Born John Stephens, (‘Legend’ was a name given to him by a discerning friend) this prodigious musician has been juggling the following roles in the past decade: vocalist, pianist, songwriter, producer, sessions musician, soloist, arranger and even head of a church music department. He had been immersed in music all his life and things really began to take off after a meeting with Grammy-winner Kanye West. Legend then worked with an impressive list of artists, including Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Mary J.Blige, Britney Spears, Eve, Common, the Black Eyed Peas and, of course, Kanye West.

The Music: Legend brings with him a repertoire of influences and experiences from the live music scene in Philadelphia where he was a regular at the time of the burgeoning neo-soul movement, to the circuits of New York, Boston, Atlanta, and Washington DC…he absorbed it all and developed a distinctive style.
On his debut album Get Lifted, Legend fuses classic old school soul music with 21st century hip-hop, sensual R&B with gritty undertones, and even a little Latin flavour. An outstanding track is the modern day ode to love, Ordinary People. Recorded with John's plaintive piano accompaniment, the song is, "about love, not as a fantasy or fairytale, but as it really goes down between two people."
Legend knows his given name might come off presumptuous. But he has a plan. He confesses. “By being 'John Legend,' I put some pressure on myself but I hope my music will live up to it."

Also featured:



The Coral

Keyshia Cole

KT Tunstall

Low Millions

You can read the rest of our feature Breaking Through in the July 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

Natalie Imbruglia
Asha Bhosle
System Of A Down
The White Stripes
Rock & Record
Michael Jackson
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