“You have to go through something for it to be real,” soulstress Nicole Wray, a.k.a. Lady Wray, has said of her rollercoaster ride of a music career. From earning gold records and presiding as a member of the 90s hip hop ruling class, to bandmate fallout and struggles with the music business, Lady Wray and been through it, and she’s back with a vengeance with her new album, Queen Alone, set for release on September 23rd via Big Crown Records.
With autobiographical hints throughout, Wray uses each track to tell pieces of her story; in optimistic Jackson Five-esque opener “It’s Been A Long Time”, she declares it’s taken a while to find her way, but she’s ready to succeed, as she reminds us to follow her lead and remain hopeful in “Smiling”, and recalls lessons learned from success and loss of material things in “They Won’t Hang Around”. Wray approaches each song as an acknowledgement of the past, refusing to wallow in perceived failure or misfortune, and looking forward with expectancy to the opportunities ahead.
Wray’s gospel-infused vocals, sweetly seasoned and velvety smooth, take us to church like those of the divas who have come before her; that powerful voice is beautifully supported by vintage soul-style instrumentation, awash in a groovy rhythm section and big horns. Those incredible elements, combined with the indelible production of Big Crown’s own Leon Michels and Daptone/Dunham’s Tom Brenneck, and you have, hands down, one of this year’s most captivating albums.
Purchase Queen Alone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/queen-alone/id1129494759