Mahavishnu John’s protégé steps out with sweet soul sacrifice on her debut EP.
World music runs through the vein of this young songstress – and how could it be different for a Nigerian born in Bulgaria, discovered on a Côte d’Azur stage by John McLaughlin and invited to America, on his recommendation by Narada Michael Walden? Such is the strength of Emily Johnson’s talent that’s condensed into four pieces of her first record, a mini-album which is as translucent as it is full of spiritual sensuality.
“Baby Forever” may seem quite light yet, rising from hymnal piano chords, Emily’s richly colored voice splinters into plenty harmonic rays on “The Light” to captivate and enchant with its joy whose soul-elevated solemnity is ever so close to wuthering drama. And the drama – the mundane, sociopolitical sort of – is taken to the verge of despair in the paradoxically playful title track, while the busy dance groove of “I’m Blessed” is a rap-enhanced celebration of existence and the desire to embrace each and every day. Pourquoi pas? With a grace like Johnson’s any heart will open to let the sun in. One stunning start – with a lot of shakti to it.