Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Vanessa Williams Follows Her Own Vision With Vanessa

  • 2002 22 Apr
Vanessa Williams Follows Her Own Vision With <I>Vanessa</I>
You may not be familiar with her name, but you know her voice.

Light Records and Bajada Records have joined forces to introduce Vanessa Williams, the soaring soprano in Richard Smallwood's Vision, which featured Williams on such songs as Angels, Oh, What A Night, Holy Thou Art God and Oh, How He Loves You And Me. You may also recognize her voice from the song I Was Created To Worship You, on the Straight Gate Mass Choir's Faith in the House CD.

Stepping into the limelight on her own, Williams delivers a strong debut with Vanessa. Producers and songwriters Richard Smallwood (Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin), Steven Ford (T.D. Jakes, Donnie McClurkin), Paul Allen & J. Moss (Karen Clark-Sheard, Daryl Coley), Kevin Bond (Donnie McClurkin) and Fred Hammond (Cece Winans) give Vanessa varied sounds that nevertheless form a cohesive whole.

The Smallwood-penned All My Help is beautifully orchestrated, with strong backing vocals from Vision. Hiding Place (written by the exceptional Kevin Bond), has a smooth jazz sound. Walk By Faith (with background vocals from Radical For Christ) and See What I Believe are two mid-tempo, funky grooves from Fred Hammond. The production duo Paul D. Allen & James Moss (PAJAM) deliver the hip-hop contributions Think Again and One Mo' Praz. Vanessa also goes traditional on the classic church hymn Oh, How I Love Jesus.

Steven Ford, who wrote and produced six of the 13 tracks on Vanessa, moves the CD into a worship mode with Bow Down and You Belong To Me, while Chasing After You is a slow, melodic song about never being satisfied with where we are in God. The CD closes with the praise and worship tune, I'll Worship Your Name.

Vanessa Williams, an elementary school teacher in Southeast Washington, D.C., for the past 15 years, is now following her own musical vision. You're advised to give her a hearty welcome.