Lady formed when veteran R&B vocalists Terri Walker and Nicole Wray met and decided to turn their mutual love of classic late-'60s/early-'70s soul into something tangible. Working with the guys (Leon Michels and Jeff Silverman) behind the decidedly retro-soul label Truth & Soul, the ladies of Lady have crafted a sound that is in debt to great records made and released by singers on Stax, Hi, Atlantic, Curtom, or any number of small labels, but with a modern toughness and hip-hop swagger that keep the record from being just an exercise in nostalgia. Though Michels and Silverman employ all the touchstones of classic soul, use real strings and real organs, and make each song sound like a lost hit from a forgotten singer, they don't try to make the record sound like it was actually recorded in 1968.
This is the self-titled debut album from American Billboard-charting Nicole Wray and UK chart-topper Terri Walker. After both finding commercial success, at the cost of artistic integrity, they joined forces to create an album that's soul-baring and soulful. The 11-track effort sounds like an ode to your favourite '60s divas, one fused with contemporary bass lines and production, best exemplified on their viral pre-release, "Money." Though nostalgic acts in R&B aren't rarities, what separates Lady from Solange or even Canada's Divine Brown is their sound, created by blending the two powerhouse voices, which transitions smoothly from solo verses to collective bridges.
In the States, the popular perception of soul is that it’s the sound of nostalgia, as defined by Blues Brothers dance-offs, Big Chill soundtracks, California Raisins commercials, Duckie serenades, and the countless dusty hip-hop samples that trigger back-in-the-day remembrances. Even its most visible modern-day adherents-- like Bruno Mars or Justin Timberlake-- reinforce the throwback assocations by using soul music as an opportunity to anachronistically dress up in suits and employ large, identically attired backing bands seated behind large name-plates. But in England, soul has been a constant lifesource for the country’s musical vanguard, whether it was post-punkers mainlining the music’s emotional charge, 1980s New Pop artists adopting its showbiz sheen, or trip-hop producers taking its essence into more dystopian realms.
Lady is a new female duo composed of the singers Terri Walker and Nicole Wray. Walker hails from England; she debuted in 2003 with a soulful album that earned a nomination for the Mercury Prize, and she has released several albums since then. Wray released a solo album, Make It Hot, in 1998, and the title track—which contained a verse from Missy Elliot and production from Timbaland—earned gold status.
Terrific transatlantic collaboration from soul singers Terri Walker and Nicole Wray. Natalie Shaw 2013 There’s very little as naturally affecting as vocal harmony done well. The human voice needs nothing material, no flashing lights, no context. There’s little as rousing and thrilling as two voices united as one, in a joint state of emotion.