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After years of talent showcases and varying TV specials, the tail end of 2007 brought us BET‘s “Sunday Best”, Gospel music’s answer to American Idol. One of the most notable success stories and amazing talents from that show was Shari Addison. Her journey from wild card entrant to overall runner-up inspired many, while her vocal dexterity and prowess made her an immediate sensation on the show.

After much anticipation, the Chicago native releases her self-titled solo debut on the Verity Records imprint.Addison’s 10-track debut comes chock full of powerhouse production, masterful writing, and awesome vocal delivery that is more indicative of a musical veteran rather than a new artist. Super producer Donald Lawrence lends his genius to “One More Sunny Day”, a churchy ballad that flawlessly blends Lawrence’s pen with Addison’s voice.Kevin Bond pens and produces the funky “I Praise You” as well as the debut radio single “No Battle, No Blessing”, another instant classic. Daniel Weatherspoon lends his hand to the pop-flavored and encouraging “You Can Rise”. Percy Bady skillfully and adequately handles the balance of the album’s production efforts.

One of Addison’s strengths during her “Sunday Best” run was her ability to sing a variety of musical styles and authentically fit into any musical situation. That trait expertly translates on this effort, as Addison runs the full gamut of genres and does so with poise, grace, skill, and legitimacy. From the funk-filled grooves of “Whateva” to the acappella and transparent nature of “You Know My Heart”, Addison can simply do it all.

Be sure to check out the life that she breathes into the James Cleveland classic “Please Make Me Better”. The only guest vocal appearance comes from Addison’s pastor, Chris Harris, who lends his pen and vocals to the high energy “Can’t Make It Without Him”.

Make no mistake about it, Shari Addison is here to stay with a well-rounded and impressive debut release. Addison’s incredible vocal prowess and solid vocal placement coupled with stellar song selections make her self-titled debut an album that will be one of the industry’s most celebrated debuts in recent memory. Two words: Instant Vintage.

Production: Percy Bady, Donald Lawrence, Kevin Bond, Daniel Weatherspoon

album release date: January 13, 2008 Zomba Gospel

– reviewed by Gerard Bonner for Gospelflava.com –