Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Slept On Soul Stars: Lina and "Save Your Soul"

After a brief start as a songwriter in the late 90s, Lina (real name Shelina R. Wade) released her debut single "Playa No Mo" at the turn of the millennium. During that time the R&B genre seemed to be split into 3 categories: urban-crossover, hip-hop soul and neo-soul with Lina being one of the few unsung participants of the latter category. Her debut album "Stranger On Earth" was critically applauded for its unique fusion of R&B, swing and vocal jazz music but it was pretty much slept on. Following this Wade was released from her contract with Atlantic - a label not entirely versed in R&B outside of Brandy Norwood - and went onto sign with Hidden Beach Recordings, best known for their success with Jill Scott in the early 2000s. She launched her own label Mood Star Recordings and released the above compilation "Save Your Soul" in 2005 which featured many songs written by her across many genres from hip hop to acoustic soul/blues. This definitely showcased her versatility as a songwriter more than ever before but sadly a lot of these artists were to never have established careers, including the fantastic Sajai and rap group Braille Method (though a few did make the cut to the soundtrack to the 2009 independent movie Truth Hall.) Following this, Wade has released two further independent albums "Morning Star" (2008) and "The Love Chronicles Of a Lady Songbird - A Tribute To Soul" (2012) but as of 2021, has still never got the recognition she deserves. I expected more from Hidden Beach as they were primarily a soul-based label but the mid-2000s were the beginning of the end for R&B in my opinion. Though more than capable of making mainstream hits (just listen to the songs she has written for other artists such as Tyrese and Keesha), she has thus far kept her identity and continues to inspire her many committed fans, of which Stuart and I are two. 

Travis' Interview    0:18
Over Me    3:48
Illuminating    3:40
Sajai's Interview    0:17
Ghetto Tactics    4:40
Dough    3:45
Do You Remember    3:48
Flow Like A River    3:27
There For You    3:31
Soul's Journey    3:34
Misfits    3:37
Jeeve's Interview    0:31
Let's Make It Real    4:21
Never    4:30
Time Flies    3:25
Keep It    3:50
Downtime    4:20
Is You Is    4:02
Road's Gonna Turn    4:17
The Morning After    6:24

Bonus disc includes a 6-track taster of her sophomore album, two tracks of which were later cut from the track-listing.