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"Moments of Clarity- Book One": Wayna
By Nilda Velez
For independent artists, the live show is their
livelihood. It’s not only how they perfect their
craft, but a means of getting their name (and
voice) out to the street. Wayna, a
Washington, D.C. native, appreciated this
importance during her recent live sets and I,
like a true music gumshoe, investigated the
album to see if her earnest performance
matched the ambition of the album.

Moments of Clarity- Book One, released by Quiet Power
Entertainment, is a collection of twelve tracks that are each individual
stories. Together, they create a magnetic balance between old and
new. Wayna’s voice is old, like a Unidyne microphone old. It is
throaty, but powerful and reminiscent of Motown. Her voice is in a
class headed by smoky songstresses and, in totality, the album is
solid.

The writing is genuinely organic. Wayna lyrically tells a complete
story, using language that moves images in your mind. On Rose
Colored Glasses, she melodically describes a dreary day, projecting it
to be better. It’s theme music for the eternal optimist; downright
happy, yet not oversimplified. At the bridge, she sings, "I can change
a situation just by how I see it / They say every cloud has a silver
lining and I believe it / What I choose to focus on will surely multiple /
My eyes are an instrument of the change in my life." This befits a
Sunday drive.

Writing muscles are supernaturally flexed on Secret Identity, a song
with an original concept. Over a jazzy baseline and rhythmic finger
snapping, Wayna declares that she is neither young nor naive and
sees her lover for what he truly is. Her womanly instincts are
allegorized with a superhero’s abilities, complete with x-ray vision
and bionic hearing. There are Wonder Woman references aplenty.
And on Doubting Destiny, to highlight variety, she sings about the
uneasiness of potential romance in such a slow whisper that she is
practically talking. The music here is smooth and classic.

Notwithstanding, some elements, while not necessarily distracting
from the work, seemed dispensable. Exposed, a track with more
guest rhyming than singing, and a cover of Bob Marley’s Redemption
Song are inessential. This project is strong enough to stand on its
own, without guests or covers. Case in point, Mama’s Sacrifice. This
moving cut is a particularly personal narrative written from a revealing
perspective. As an adult, as a woman singing to a woman, Wayna
boldly acknowledges the sacrifices her mother made for her.
Watching her on stage, it is clear that she is aware of her instrument,
using her whole mouth to conjure that soulful sound that cannot be
created accidentally. It is released from a connectedness with the
lyrical content. Retrospectively, Wayna asks, "Mama, who’s looking
out for you?" And somehow in that same set, she found room for Mr.
Duracell, a humorous song about self-love. ‘Nuff said.

On the current music circuit, her attention to meaningful writing detail
is new and I thank her. This, next to her vocal ability with its old,
familiar sound is a striking combination. She seems to even embrace
this, as evident by her live set where she opened with Minnie
Riperton’s Lovin’ You. As the drums sped the beat though, it became
her own, rousing rendition. Wayna is proof positive that everything
old is not only new again, but better.

More information about Wayna can be found at her website:
www.wayna.net