Review By: Melody Charles
Few female R&B artists on the scene have a voice as piercing and as powerful as KeKe Wyatt’s: thanks to a pair of sizzling duets with another certified soul talent, Avant (“Nothing In This World” and a potent Rene & Angela remake, “My First Love”), KeKe’s debut CD went gold and all but assured superstardom—until a domestic violence charge (against her now ex-husband) and two failed label deals resulted in an unintended hiatus and doubts that she would ever perform again. Luckily for her fans, Ms. Wyatt regrouped, signed to Shanachie and charted again with a solid sophomore effort, 2010’s Who Knew? Now, settled into a healthy relationship and based in Atlanta GA, KeKe brings a happier, yet still authentic sensibility to her third CD, the ambitious (if uneven) Unbelievable
Featuring veteran production skills (JR Hutson, Shep Crawford) and some well-known peers (Ruben Studdard, Kelly Price and Tweet), Ms. Wyatt shines on numbers like “Miss Your Plane,” where she’s pouting about her long-distance love affair and doing everything possible to delay his departure, and in the powerful three-way collabo, “Mirror,” where she, Tweet and Kelly rue their inability to walk away from an abusive relationship. There’s the aggressively amorous “Tap Out,” positing her as a woman anxious to put it down on her man, and an appealing update of the 1980s soul classic, “Saturday Love,” with Ruben Studdard. She displays some galvanizing gospel pipes on a sweet rendering of Eric Clapton’s classic, “Tears In Heaven,” and an a cappella inclusion of “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” will induce chills.
The rest of the CD is hit and miss: “Light Me Up” is a tribute to new love, but might be too sticky-sweet for most, and her remake of Miki Howard’s “Love Under New Management” doesn’t carry the same conviction as the original. But with a voice as compelling as KeKe’s, wading through the ‘a’ight’ to get to the ‘extraordinary’ is well worth the effort and why most R&B listeners will consider Unbelievable a third time charm.