Sensual soul’s valiant intent: charity endeavor aimed to benefit California fire victims.
San Francisco is close to Sydney Brown’s heart, and not only because she’s the daughter of the city’s erstwhile mayor but because it’s her home. That’s why the teenager couldn’t help but feel the pain of those burned by wildfires that raged through the state in October 2017, when Sydney was writing a song with the legendary Narada Michael Walden whom she’d first met seven years earlier, at the very beginning of her musical career. As a result, the smoldering dance number turned into something larger, much more spiritual and passionate – compassionate even – on a completely different level.
Emerging amid escapist cliches, Brown’s velveteen voice is soon spurned by beats to shoot high, and the track about heartbreak and hardship becomes a song of hope and a call to get together and help those in need. The heavy subject might explain the lack of melismatic embellishments in Sydney’s soulful delivery, although there’s a strong suspicion this performer is so natural that her approach doesn’t need tinsel to shine through the fog – or smoke – and Walden’s simple underpinning of it all with transparent keyboards for a background and his own vocals on chorus is an additional secret of the piece’s emotional impact.
With all the profits from its sails donated to the Red Cross Disaster Fund to support the victims of the Californian fires, “Love Is Stronger Than Smoke And Fire” is an impressive statement.