Jennifer Hudson – When I first saw Jennifer sing on American Idol the Aretha Franklin classic “Share Your Love with Me”, with her crazy Chaka Khan type hair and amazing voice. I knew that was a star and even after the devastated lost of American Idol, she went disappeared from the public eye but I kept pushing for her. When she sold the song “Stand Up” on her website before she was signed it was more proof that she was truly a force. Those times have passed and now you can call Jennifer the woman with a Golden Globe, Oscar and GRAMMY. She has one of the most powerful voices to come around since another Chicago native Chaka Khan.
Jill Scott – Jill hit the scene with “Who Is Jill Scott” and it made all music fans sit up and really ask “Who IS Jill Scott”. She’s a woman that creates pure art with her albums. Songs that truly dig deep and touch your soul, Jill is a master of telling a story though her music. Jill Scott never just puts out music but each album is a piece of her and each album pierces a bit of your soul. She doesn’t get the popular attention of Alicia or Jennifer but speaking as a pure artist she’s like Nina Simone. She’s not only in tune with her soul but the music listeners too.
Ne-Yo – In 3 years Ne-Yo has manage to put out 3 albums. He’s a hit making machine all by himself. Music buyers haven’t seen album output like that since the 1960’s. Meaning most of us haven’t ever seen that type of output. Ne-Yo isn’t a soul singer like the three ladies featured before him. He’s a below average R&B crooner. He creates music that everyone can sing and dance too. Ne-Yo has proved to be a hit maker songwriter as well as a popular artist. Ne-Yo will be around for a while as a Producer/Writer or Singer/Dancer. Ne-Yo was born for creating music because he knows what appeals to people. Michael Jackson once stated that you have to create music that anyone can sing too. That’s what Ne-Yo does and that is why he’s so successful.
Jamie Foxx – We all knew Jamie could sing and if you are a real big music fan you remember his first album in 1994 “Peep This”. It was a bunch of knock off Babyface songs but you could tell that he was heading in the right directions. After an Oscar win for the portrayal of the legend Ray Charles, Jamie came with force releasing 2005’s “Unpredictable”. That album had everyone singing and it even brought rapper Twista back into relevancy. Unlike Ne-Yo, Jamie can really sing!
India.Arie – She’s not a force of nature and is not near as house-hold name friendly as any of the others but she has so much passion in her music. Her debut album was amazing and even though she didn’t win any Grammys even though being nominated. She lost to Alicia Keys and U2, which isn’t bad company to lose too. To me “Acoustic Soul” filled the void of Sade. Her music has that same type of feel. India Arie music can relax you, make you want to cry, and empower you all at the same time. Oh wait Maybe she is a force, she’s a creative force and I cannot deny my love for her.