LADY May Africa's first gospel album was released at the end of 2019, and it marks a new frontier for one of Namibia's music icons.
After rebranding to Lady May Africa in 2018, the artist was earnestly investing time and energy in reshaping her musical approach. This is my first gospel album, and it took just over a year to produce," she says.
"I did not want to rush as everything had to be perfect. We took our time to polish the album."
Lady May Africa says she wanted to ensure the album symbolised a truly diverse offering to the listener, and that each song had to portray its own identity. "The genre of gospel cannot be compared to other genres, due to its uniqueness."
Most of the songs were written by Lady May Africa, except for three tracks which include a traditional church hymn.
Her representative Naftalie 'D-Naff' Amukwelele says the team worked hard to hone Lady May Africa's unique voice and sound.
"We had people coming from outside the country also contributing to the making of 'Unbroken', like Naomi Classik who hails from Nigeria. These contributions helped towards bringing her voice out."
D-Naff says the mentoring which took place can be seen in the quality of the offering.
'Something to Give You' starts with a good combination of beats and vocals. It's a slow track that sets the pace for the album with the background vocals coming through strong, which is a highlight throughout the album.
'Let It Shine' features D-Naff, and brings new meaning to slow jams with a mellow beat and shows the care that was taken in packaging all the various elements, which come together well. Track three 'Testimony' takes the beat up a notch, with a catchy tempo and quick pace making up a conventional gospel song which is easy to sing along to.
'Ombimbeli' follows as track four which can easily become the listener's personal favourite. Well-composed with a beat that is easy on the ear. 'Unbroken' is the most radical twist you can apply to a gospel album, with a track that employs rapping and features Franklin. It's not hard to imagine most listeners skipping to this track again and again, as the vocals pair expertly with the lyrics.
'Good Vibes' is the type of track one would listen to in the car on a long drive, or even at a mellow setting as it perfectly sets the mood for peaceful contemplation. 'African Medley' is a great instrumental composition with a low flowing kwasa kwasa sound, which allows the vocals of Lady May Africa and Maranatha to shine through. The transition is effortlessly set up considering it sounds like two songs being mashed in one, as it flows from Lady May Africa to Maranatha.
'Chillin with G.O.D.' featuring apostle Goroh and Berthold, takes the project in a different direction which does not necessarily change the feel of the overall album, but it gives you something to bounce along to. 'Kala Naame' is a song that allows the vocals to shine, while the instruments take a back seat, while 'Run to God' picks things up with a fast beat. 'Petameko' allows the guitar to be the star of the show, and 'I'll Follow You' featuring Naomi Classik from Nigeria offer vocals so smooth you find yourself singing along.
Last on the album is 'Lamb of God' featuring D-Naff. This easy listening track is the perfect way to end off a well packaged project that is so good, even a four and a half star rating does not do it enough justice.
The overall construction of each track is so well done and the album so perfectly polished that it is incomparable. It is almost as if this was a proving ground for Lady May Africa's new role, and if so, she definitely succeeded. The album is available across the country, and at Antonio's Art in Windhoek.