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Jan 15th 2005


She returns - Alyson WilliamsAlyson Williams - Got to give a lil' bit: (Three Keys Music)


It's often been said whatever happened to Alyson Williams? Well an update is on the cards I think and it's safe to say - nothing. She has been on the DL (down low) but not completely out. Ever since her debut set Raw in 1989 which featured hits like the soothing ballad 'Just Call My Name', 'I Need Your Lovin' and 'Raw', there's been few outings from this songstress (she had a release called 'Alyson Williams' five years later that never really saw the light of day on radio).

Alyson was born in Harlem, NY, her father a swing band leader and her mother a dancer turned nurse. Initially she started out as a dancer at the age of 4 and even so much as went on to win a dance scholarship to Marymount Manhattan College but soon realized her talent lies in her voice rather than her feet.

Then at the young age of 20, Alyson interned as the receptionist for the legendary Commodores, which led to a job as the personal assistant to the band's celebrated manager, Benny Ashburn. It was here that Alyson really began to shine as well as doing session work for the Commodores she also worked with R&B diva Melba Moore, Whodini and Evelyn Champagne King but it was her teaming up with rap pioneer Kurtis Blow, that really paid off for her as she was credited in recruiting R&B acts like Audrey Wheeler and Joycelyn Brown for his harmonies.

Getting that kind of attention got Alyson noticed and in the early 80s she was asked to join the group High Fashion which featured a then unknown Melissa Morgan (remember her, she had hits with a remake of Prince's 'Do Me Baby' and Fools Paradise). She recorded two albums with the group and it led to her desiring a solo career. She then signed with Def Jam a label known mostly for it's rap acts and made history in the process as she became the first R&B artist to be signed on Russell Simmons' label and the rest is 'Raw'

Her latest effort features a nice little gem called 'Got to Give A Lil' Bit' that's not found on the domestic album but on the Japanese version. The song is a shining example of Alyson's measure as a singer with smooth vocals from the veteran singer with very nice production in tow from jazz pianist Marcus Johnson. Alyson finds her way around the quite well seeing that she hasn't put out any new material for almost a decade and delivers a stellar performance throughout.

The album called 'It's About Time' has been out for a while and does have its moments including a remake of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes 'Holding back the Years' that's nicely done so why not discover Alyson all over again - a TY-D Pick.

Listen to Alyson Williams - 'Got to give a lil' bit'

Sir TY






For  Moms everywhere - FantasiaFantasia - Baby Mama (J Records)


'Another idol winner does good on her dreams of winning the title' is the likely headline for the latest winner of the Fox hit reality series - American Idol. Fantasia Barrino has arrived and is ready to take on the soul scene with her latest effort 'Baby Mama' on J Records.

Born and raised in High Point, North Carolina, the singer who's also a single Mom grew up with the dream of becoming very much like her favourite singers Monica, Brandy, Aretha Franklin and Pink. Never losing focus she stood firm in her abilities and even though becoming a mother at the age of 17 always had the belief and the mental strength to deal with anything that may come her way.

To think that out of 70,000 hopefuls, she stood alone atop of the mountain and landed the coveted crown of American Idol and she did it by adjusting her style to whatever genre was thrown at her. The same can be said for her debut as she called upon a number of top name acts and producers including former Idol runner up Tamyra Grey who does background duties on the set including the one reviewed here today.

Baby Mama is a shout, a cry of freedom steered towards all mothers who are found in the situation of being a single parent. Armed with a thumping baseline and and a pleasing chant hook, Baby Mama delivers on all fronts with determination and satisfaction giving Fantasia another chance to capture another No. 1.

Speaking of No. 1s, Barrino recently made history when she became the first artist of AI to debut at #1 with their first single, 'I Believe' - written by Idol alum Tamyra Gray. Her album is out now at a fine record store near you so I suggest you go and get a copy. A TY-D Pick.

Listen to Fantasia - 'Baby Mama'

Sir TY




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