She may still be a new name to most of us, but Ayiesha Woods is about as seasoned as a "debut" artist comes these days. Her natural musical abilities were enhanced by various performance opportunities over the years. Eventually, in 2004, she scored three Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards including "Producer of the Year." Though this helped build Woods' notoriety, it was when a vacationing TobyMac caught her song "Crazy" on a Jamaican radio station that it seemed her future in Christian music would be sealed.
Ayiesha Woods' debut project is a strong one, free of those oh-so-familiar cliches, both musically and lyrically, that seem to plague far too many records. In fact, four popular producers-Christopher Stevens, Otto Price, Ric Robbins, and David Mullen-all lent their talents in contribution to this album. In addition to that, Woods name can be found in the songwriting credits (she wrote or co-wrote all of the twelve songs) as well as the instrument credits.
Opening track "Happy" is one of the many upbeat tunes, which exhibits great AC/pop radio potential. But even with a healthy amount of the typically favored pop-orientated fare, Woods still shows her musical diversity. "Big Enough" (with TobyMac) carries a rock vibe while "Crazy" finds this twenty-something singer breaking down into a rap. The R&B flavored worship song "What You Do To Me" is one of the most beautiful works from Ayiesha, showing off her deep, soulful pipes.
Ms. Woods seems to have a knack for penning meaningful but still catchy lyrics. "Beauty" is a perfect example: "Seems like everything's so artificial 'cause everything we see in the magazines or even on TV is so superficial/ It's like a virus, I can't describe it, how shallow can we be?" For a culture that seems to be so quick to embrace any sort of media or beauty gimmick, this song appears to be especially relevant. "The Greatest Artist" leaves Ayiesha marveling at God's work ("Creation sings, reminding me that You are the Greatest Artist You never cease to amaze me with the things that You do"). Closing Introducing Ayiesha Woods is "What Matters Most," a ballad serving as a reminder of the importance of fulfilling God's will.
This enjoyable album does an excellent job of showcasing Woods' mature talents as a vocalist, musician, and lyricist. We should expect to see this artist around for a while because Introducing Ayiesha Woods is one great first impression.- Review date: 7/3/06, written by Lauren Summerford
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