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Singers behind Lady duo rebound with soul

Lady members Nicole Wray and Terri Walker (left to right) Photo Credit: Sesse Lind

Lady members Nicole Wray and Terri Walker (left to right) Photo Credit: Sesse Lind

Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the “A” w/Souleo 

Music connoisseurs who love a good underdog story can look no further than the soul duo, Lady. Individually they are known as Nicole Wray and Terri Walker. Wray is a former protégée of Missy Elliott and scored a hit with “Make It Hot” in 1998 and then quickly disappeared from the spotlight. Walker has released four hit albums in the United Kingdom without much mainstream success in the U.S. Looking back on her journey through industry challenges, Wray realizes that much of it was due to naïveté.

“Out of desperation I was hooking up with the wrong team who didn’t get what I could do and that hindered me. This industry is fast paced and nobody has the patience to nurture you. I was young and a fish out of water. I would have listened to me more and voiced my opinion,” she says.

On their self-titled debut album they are doing things their way by incorporating the pop of Motown, grit of Stax and edge of hip-hop as they touch on themes such as coming-of-age, perseverance, love and friendship. Now with critical acclaim and a return to the spotlight, some of those who passed on them before are reaching out and the ladies hold no grudges. “Of course people will come back and maybe at that time they couldn’t do anything but we won’t be mad,” says Walker. “We are very realistic but people could have let us know the truth at the time so that we didn’t have disillusions. Now we want to do it our way. Everything has to come from a real place for us.”

From soul to pop we move on to the 17th annual Pop Awards presented by SESAC, the nation’s fastest growing performing rights organization. At the grand New York Public Library, celebrities including Michelle Williams, Swizz Beatz, Melanie Fiona and producer Rico Love came out to celebrate all things pop. Williams, a former Destiny’s Child member, shared that despite working on a forthcoming gospel album she refuses to choose between the pop and gospel world. “I feel like I love all types of music and to me my responsibility is the message. So whether that’s me talking about how I dealt with love, broken relationships, depression or whatever — you can call that gospel, R&B or country. I just love music and never want to be in a box,” she says.

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