Release Date: Feb 3, 2009
Record label: Hi Fi
Genre(s): R&B, Soul
After doing a background check on Melinda Doolittle, during the early stages of American Idol's sixth season, something did not quite add up. Why would a singer so skilled, already something of a proven industry veteran -- with backing vocal credits on albums by Aaron Neville, CeCe Winans, Jonny Lang, and several others -- need to go through such a grueling process to get noticed and land a recording contract? As Doolittle continued to thrive on the show, that became more difficult to understand, and it also became increasingly evident that it might be best for her to not win the whole thing. With any luck, she'd fall just short of taking the prize, land on a sympathetic label, and team up with a professional producer who would tease out her strengths without worrying about platinum sales.
As a finalist on American Idol‘s season 6, Doolittle sang powerfully but lacked star power; at times it seemed like one of the vocal coaches had snuck on stage. So it’s quite a surprise that her debut Coming Back to You ranks among Idol‘s liveliest yet. Doolittle channels Tina ?Turner and Aretha Franklin over live-band arrangements that feel fresh-faced and old-school at the same time.
The debut album by American Idol season six finalist Melinda Doolittle is another in the recent string of throwback soul albums that reach after the spirit of Motown, Philly, or other vintage R’&‘B production styles from US pop music’s glorious past. Of course, it’s not news any more that American Idol runners up typically make better, more professional albums than the winners. But it’s also not news that the wildly popular television singing competition is simultaneously silly and a reliable way for some talented performers to get enough renown to put out records.