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Perhaps one of the most exciting musical developments of this decade has been the advent of the televised national talent search, bringing memories through venues such as “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent”.

2007 brought Gospel into the picture with BET‘s “Sunday Best” and introduced the nation to the vocal powerhouse and eventual winner, Crystal Aikin. The Tacoma, Washington native was nearly untouchable during the competition and won the hearts of countless viewers.On her self-titled debut project, Aikin offers a ten-track effort that quickly reveals her ultimate heart as a worshipper with a clear motive to reach the heart of God.

The “Sunday Best” winner enlisted a dream production team to make this album pop. “Sunday Best” host Kirk Franklin lends his pen, vocalists, and production hat to the gem “A Song About Jesus”, which is certain to be a classic. The PAJAM team of J. Moss and Paul D. Allen handle the cleverly written “What If…(He Said No)”, while Gerald Haddon masterfully presents the ballad “Even Me”. Aikin’s lone collaborative vocal effort comes with a gorgeous duet with Natalie Grant, titled “Breathe On Me”, showcasing her comfort level in a worship environment.

By and large, this effort leans heavy on the worship element, as is evidenced on the album’s lead single “I Desire More” and the praise-filled “He’s So Worthy”. However, Aikin handles the urban vibe with great ease and authenticity. Check out the smooth “Lord You Reign Forever” and the funky “Love Him”.

From pop to funk to mellow ballads, Aikin delivers with vocal excellence and a presence that connects with the hearts of every listener. She delivers a solid debut that delivers well and shows that indeed America knows talent, not just “Sunday’s Best”.

Production: Asaph Ward, Dre & Vidal, Kirk Franklin, PAJAM, Gerald Haddon, Derek “DC” Clark, Lamb and TJ, Bernie Hermes

album release date: January 13, 2008 Zomba Gospel

– reviewed by Gerard Bonner for Gospelflava.com –