TolumiDE: My Love

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Posted September 13, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

tolumide00Big blend of Afro-pop, funky reggae, neo-soul and jazz prove to be an entertaining brew for urban gospel’s newcomer

On her full-length debut My Love, Nigerian-Canadian descendant Tolulope Olumide, going by the short stage name of TolumiDE, is on the move in delivering her mix of soulful R&B, urban gospel and occasional hip-hop into Afro-pop and jazz. As complicated as it sounds, TolumiDE does a good job in piecing together the musical collage without it getting tacky or unorganized. She’s able to take the musical DNA of Taio Cruz and the ease of Oleta Adams, while injecting more of her heritage using bilingual lyrics, into a friendlier foundation of melodic pop and R&B balladry perfect for outreach crossover gospel. Evidence of that takes place on the lead single and on the funky “What I’d Like to Be” (finding a unique way to use the term “rock steady” to describe her Savior). She mesmerizes with “Specialty” by transplanting a contemporary jazz uptempo groove into a retro production mirroring Jam & Lewis ‘80’s urban beats. When expanding on her musical diversities rather than recording music suitable for urban radio, TolumiDE sounds even more organic.“Because You Know,” one of the definite stand outs, is lavished with a reggae pulse placed under a sweet melody, TolumDE’s breezy vocals and a lyric calling for unity and brotherhood (“Together we must live in love/Together we stand/Divided we fall/Let’s live together as one”). “Speed of Life” is a peaceful exploration of Latin jazz and another indicator of an artist stretching her craft beyond genres’ boxed-in limitations.

Not all subject matter on My Love are worship based. “More Than You’ll Ever Know,” with its futuristic pop synths and slice of guitar riffs, traces a romance blessed from the Most High. “All Cell Phones” displays heavy synth and drum programmed beats influenced by Jamie Foxx “Blame It” (or Mary Mary’s “God In Me,” however you look at it). On the chorus, TolumiDE has no fear in getting her jiggy on when she breaks out with dance move rules for the praise party, but it’s apparently clear that TolumiDE’s warm, bubbly personality has no place in the big clubs nor on a fiery-designed track like this. Her redemption falls on the smooth slow jam “For Me,” where TolumiDE describes her frustrations in finding her destiny of love.. Paced like a gospel play ballad, she opens up about her temptations in trying to find the one for her. As the song parades on, she confesses she need to lay low with trying to do God’s job and to just be patient in the rat race for marriage. TolumiDE is a married woman so she’s apparently singing the song to all the singles ladies still dancing to Beyonce’s classic.

TolumiDE does everything in her power to develop a comfortable pass for gospel music to enter more non-religious environments on My Love. Without all the churchy cliches and religious undertones usually ascribed to gospel albums, My Love sounds more like an inspirational soundtrack designed for India.Aire. Still her capability of describing the vastness of spiritual love, even digging into the crate of real-life relationships, expands her album into a stronger piece of work. If there is a bone to pick with the versatile singer’s full-length effort, it is her consistently calm nature on almost every tracks – regardless if it’s upbeat or slowly anchored. Her personality never shifts from being endearing, sweet and exceedingly too comfortable. Those who are familiar with the neo-soul styling of Lisa McClendon and the urban gospel duo BeBe & CeCe Winans will earn a dose of satisfaction with TolumiDE’s positive and encouraging lyrics. It probably won’t hurt the religious monks looking to gain more balance to their humanity to pick up the record as well.

J MATTHEW COBB

HIFI DETAILS

  • Release Date: 25 May 2010
  • Label: TolumiDE
  • Producers: Blaise Tangelo, John Bashengezi, Ngouma Lokito, Terry Poindexter, Erik Dennis, Mark Baker, Alan Gaffere, the Ogunfiditimi Brothers, Samuel Salamu, Kevin Prince
  • Track Favs: Because You Know, What I’d Like to Be, More Than You’ll Ever Know, Specialty, For Me

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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