Lydia Amerae is a singer/songwriter from the West Midlands and West Wales. Fans of Lisa Stansfield will enjoy the musical artistry of this promising young chanteuse who expresses herself through Neo Soul, Spoken Word and Nu-Jazz. She has a diverse and growing international fan base that appreciates her beautiful voice and unique style. On the rare moments when she might sound a bit off key, Lydia knows how to use her gift and compensates by using volume, tone, and enunciation to capture a mood and tell a story. Somebody must have broken this woman’s heart because all five of the songs on her MySpace page are about dirty, rotten scoundrels, and she wrote them all.
“Don’t Bite the Hand” is a sultry, sassy musical tongue lashing aimed at “scrubs.” Ms. Amerae’s voice is on point, but the blasting background muzak overtakes her vocals and reduces a potentially blockbuster jam with a muscular message into wallpaper music. A dash of scatting peppered with an almost inaudible echo effect adds a speck of dimension to an otherwise lackluster tune that lasts longer than a marijuana minute. None of these flaws are fatal, but some strategically imposed production could have resulted in a seriously dope track.
“Tru Lies” opens with agile keyboarding swirling around the perfect ratio of bass guitar to drums. Sadly, the music swells into a loud, monotonous, canned droning that overshadows the lyrics and can’t be saved by Ms. Amerae’s valiant performance. This off-balance ballad is a showcase for L.A.’s vocal acrobatics, requiring her to hit highs, lows, and to emote, all of which she does with aplomb. The true star of “Tru Lies” is the Slam Poetry, which describes the ways we tell lies to ourselves and to one another. The lyrics are delivered with heartfelt angst, first by Lydia A., then by a male counterpart who’s eloquent but brief melodious response imposes equilibrium on a mostly one-sided argument about the role of truth in relationships.
The strongest offering is “Summer Shivers,” a bouncy, pop tune about resuscitating a dying love relationship. Fresh, funky, and frothy, the lyrics coupled with Lydia’s limber voice and a nimble, plucky keyboard and drum make this tune danceable. Porno guitar spoils this song. Drop the monotonous chick-a-chick-a-bow-wow and eliminate half the “Bring your love back” refrains and this tune is a winner with a happy ending. “Handprints and Memories” is another Spoken Word offering, this time juxtaposed over Nu-Jazz. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the ballads and sophomoric themes of the other songs. Intelligent, poetic lyrics paint a picture of a woman contemplating her relationship in the wee hours of a rainy morning. Lydia’s lustrous voice drips sadness and frustration in perfect harmony with drums that sound like a clock ticking and keyboarding that mimics the pitter-patter of raindrops. “Handprints and Memories” is the sweetest and saddest of the five songs sampled on MySpace and best exemplifies Lydia’s songwriting skills.
Lydia Amarae is a multi-talented neo-torch singer gifted with a beautiful voice, both sing and speaking. She deftly weaves Spoken Word with singing and the result is innovative and mesmerizing, so much so that, despite the British accent that occasionally renders the lyrics indecipherable to my American ears, Ms. Amerae sounds so good… who cares! What she lacks in passion and story telling skills, Lydia redeems with her timing, timbre and sincerity. Her voice has a dreamy warmth and crisp delivery that is unhurried, relaxed and harbors a sexy aloofness. Ms. Amarae has tremendous potential and appeal. With a live back up band, stronger material and upgraded production quality her future is so bright you gotta wear shades. To see what Lydia Amerae has been up to recently check her out at: http://www.myspace.com/lydiaamerae.