After winning Oprah Winfrey’s one-and-only “Oprah’s Pop Star Challenge” in 2004, LaShell Griffin has been wowing listeners with her big, beautiful voice, soaring lyrics and emotional delivery. Now releasing a third album Dreams Are Possible, LaShell’s growing and dedicated fan-base will be delighted with the inspirational, vocal acrobatics that helped set this artist apart from 18.000 other contestants and catapult her to public attention.
Blending her strong faith in Jesus with danceable R&B and electro-pop tunes, LaShell had me lifting my hands to heaven as I grooved to her big, sweet sound on “I Almost Blew It.” Smooth, mellow performances are delivered on “I Don’t Judge” and “Because of Your Mercy.” The album’s title track “Dreams are Possible” serves as an ideal showcase for Griffin’s range of vocal abilities – building from a full, rich melody to a bold, open-throated chorus while backed by a veritable choir that's filled with soul.
Not only does the disc provide ample opportunity for Griffin to move through her full vocal range, but she also presents tracks ranging from the deeply formal to surprisingly casual. “Sista' Talk” is in fact a recording of a light-hearted conversation between Griffin and her sister LaTress Tomas, before launching into a duet calling for love and reconciliation. Griffin also interposes seemingly spontaneous spoken praise, scripture and gets her preach on in the midst of her songs, encouraging listeners to lay their cares on Jesus and trust in Him.
While Griffin’s voice is a compelling instrument itself, the only track in which she’s backed by a band is on “Dreams Are Possible.” With the disc relying heavily upon synthesized music the cumulative effect can be rather synthetic (particularly when the voice transforming effects are broken out, thankfully only a few times). I’d love to hear Griffin against a rich background of instrumentation worthy of the talent she pours into her vocals.