Grammy – Best Female R&B Vocal Performance 2011
"Gone Already," by Faith Evans, opens with a chilling piano followed by a chest-thumping beat before she presents her subdued vocals in this clichéd broken heart song which is Evans' first charting hit since "Tru Love" in 2005. This effort was clearly meant to be a fire-and-ice performance, but it didn't thaw. With one Grammy Award already on her shelf – this marks her sixth nomination – Evans should not need to make room for another.
American Idol's third season winner, Fantasia, will hear her name announced Grammy night for her tenth nomination with "Bittersweet," but will not have to make the trip to the podium even though it would make a sort of storybook ending to the year after an aspirin and sleeping pill overdose in August 2010. The tune is full of emotion expertly stylized with her unmistakable voice, but is too contained and does not highlight that big voice enough to get the nod this year.
Able to dissect you with her voice, Monica received a nomination – her fifth, with one previous win – for "Everything to Me." Delivered with classic Monica style, the song offers fantastically controlled vocals, pulling you back and teasing you with the verses before letting loose in the chorus. This touching tribute to a beau reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and will likely be the one called when the envelope is opened.
Kelly Price's forth Grammy nomination, "Tired," is this writer's choice as the song that should triumph, but it will not likely give Price her first trophy. A la Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey with that big, belting instrument she sings from the heart and demands attention. With gospel style, we feel inspired by the message of strength that comes from her core and ends with intense, screaming vocals. Look for a winner when her album, Kelly, is released.
With "Holding You Down (Goin' in Circles)" as the lead single to her second album, Love Me Back, Jazmine Sullivan is almost deserving of victory this year after it hit number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Superbly sullen, Sullivan sings of being confused and defeated by another in this heartfelt broken heart tune. It is full of catchy riffs and modern styles, but the elements of other songs and artists really do not add anything and were not needed. This star has a bright future.
To recap this writer's selections: Monica will win the award, but Kelly Price is more deserving. Looking at this category one may wonder if this represents a slow year for the R&B genre with no really huge blockbuster show-stopping hits and that would be an accurate description, but it is an opportunity to become familiar with names you may not have normally paid a whole lot of attention to before.
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