From Muncie, Indiana, comes singer, composer, and producer Cheri Maree with her second album “360° Woman – Rebirth” who melds Soul, Jazz, Rock, Gospel, Hip Hop with the emphasis clearly on Soul and with a voice that has some kind of Aretha-isms, especially in the higher register.
The album opens with the catchy Jill Scott-like title track and continues with its only cover song, “Ain’t Nobody”, as a tribute to Chaka Khan and coming in a sexy shuffle GoGo groove with distinct background vocals by Tony Hightower and Lisa McGlown.
Marcus Williams is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering the record and he also plays drums and percussion. “Soft Places” is a beautiful R&B ballad with those Aretha-like vocals again which culminates in a grand Gospel-like finale before fading out on a soft note. Her songwriting skills shine through on the eclectic and challenging “Mirror!Mirror!”, an extremely catchy tune with a soothing chorus. The same applies for the inspirational, positive “Keeping Our Love Alive”, another midtempo two-step groover with a great hook.
Cheri goes down with the Blues on the organ and guitar-drenched “Invisible Woman” where once again, she reminds me of the late 70s, early 80s Aretha Franklin. Listen to her belting out and caressing the word “nobody” in the middle of the song. I’m not really into the Rock number “More Than Enough”. “Baby Girl”is a showstopping ballad with a bombastic chorus and “Sweet Temptation” is currently my favorite of them all: finest Indie Soul with a swaying groove, infectious backing vocals and alluring refrain. There is a very 90s sounding, Euro Electro beat on “Time To Shine” which doesn’t do it for me, although I can imagine that this would come across better in live performance.
Her two minute “Mantra” at the end finishes this new discovery on an a capella, inspirational note. The graphic design of the cover is the only real fauxpas here.