LOS ANGELES Rising R&B singer Tamia presented a sneak preview Wednesday of the soulful ballads and party dance numbers that will appear on her forthcoming sophomore album.
Backed by dancers, background singers and a full band, the 24-year-old Canadian singer performed four songs from the untitled LP (due Oct. 10) for a crowd of industry types and invited guests at the Sunset Room in Hollywood.
"She ain't no Spice Girls," rapper Ice-T said after the half-hour show. "She really can sing."
Before Tamia emerged onstage, her backing ensemble kicked things off with a short teaser of the LP's first single, "I Can't Go for That." But when the singer finally appeared, clad in a shiny pink top and jeans, the band moved into the dance tune "Go" instead of proceeding with the single. As dancers gyrated behind her, Tamia strutted across the stage and belted out the lyrics in her sultry, soulful voice.
The party mood then abruptly shifted for the back-to-back power ballads "Love Me in a Special Way" and "Stranger in My House." For the latter, Tamia's aching vocal captured the song's agonizing lyrics: "There's no way you can be who you say you are/ You've got to be someone else/ He wouldn't touch me like that/ He wouldn't do the things you do."
The dancers then reappeared for a full rendition of "Can't Go for That," which rapper/producer Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott produced for the album. The song features the chorus of the 1981 Hall & Oates hit "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" (RealAudio excerpt of Hall & Oates) with club beats and sassy, street-lingo verses. "Why you trippin'?" Tamia sings. "Get your hands off me. Why you illin'? I'm supposed to be your queen."
Tamia (born Tamia Washington) capped the performance with her Grammy-nominated ballad, "You Put a Move on My Heart" (RealAudio excerpt). She recorded the tune for Quincy Jones' 1995 album, Q's Jook Joint, after the record impresario met the then teenager at an awards ceremony. Jones also had a hand in the production of Tamia's 1998 self-titled debut LP.
"This is Tamia's year to happen," attendee Janinah Jones said. "You can just feel that the girl is about ready to explode."
In addition to Elliott, Tamia's new album features production work by Dallas Austin (TLC, Monica) and Shep Crawford (Deborah Cox).