One of the infinite pleasures of maintaining this humble blog is the abundance of submissions that flood both our inboxes and homes. One of the more recent submissions is Boston singer-songwriter Tavonna Miller, who has recently released a five song EP entitled Four Songs I Wish I Wrote And One I Actually Did. Okay, so it’s not the most clever of titles, but still, points for trying.
Opening up with a staggering cover of Macy Gray’s “I Try,” Miller sets the tone from the very first note. She’s a gal with huge pipes and enough sass and pep to scare Macy. Well, okay, maybe that last point is a stretch but her version of “I Try,” is an absolute smash.
On Jill Scott’s “My Petition,” the Berklee student slows things down and offers a sultry, sensual R&B ballad without flaw. Though it’s clearly not as good as Scott, it’s still reveals a compelling new voice and a singer-songwriter on the rise in the Northeast.
The disc’s apex is an enchanting and mesmerizing cover of Lizz Wright’s “Speak Your Heart.” Bristling with tenderness, vulnerability and Heather Rose’s lingering guitar, it’s a deeply affecting ballad and one that points to Miller’s inherent talents.
Her stab at Imogen Heap’s “Wait It Out,” has the disc’s most potent commercial appeal and is definitely a cover Miller should make a staple of her repertoire for years to come. Every single second of it moves along with polish, professionalism and enough confidence to make Heap blush.
The EP closes with “Me And My Baby,” a timeless, bare-bones piano ballad in which Miller sounds more comfortable and relaxed than on any prior cut. That last fact is what makes Four Song I Wish I Wrote, so disappointing. Miller clearly has worlds of talent and knows her way around a song, so why did she resort to four covers? Being that “Me And My Baby,” is her lone original and is also dynamic, powerful and compelling, makes the end result a bit frustrating. One can easily surmise she has a dozen tracks like this up her sleeve, so why resort to four covers?
In the end, one can only hope an EP or full-length of only original material is on the horizon. Sure enough, Boston has once again done it again, only this time with R&B. Tavonna Miller is a surging talent on the rise and it won’t be long before she’s selling out venues like the House of Blues and The Orpheum.
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