Nia Peeples (Charisma Records)
Nia Peeples

By David DewBerry

My big musical surprise for this holiday season is that Nia Peeples can sing. Her debut album is best on the pieces on which she was lyricist. You may have heard "Street of Dreams," which has been leaked to radio stations before review copies were sent out. It's a good single, but I much prefer the pieces that Peeples had a hand in, most notably "Every Word." The sultry feel of her voice is most evident on that cut. The only problem that I have with this disc is with the aforementioned single, "Street of Dreams," as she has a lovely voice which is totally obscured by the background singers on the chorus " ... so if you feel that you just can't take it ..." Darrell Gustamachio did a top-notch mixing job at ChungKing studios in NYC, except on the chorus of this piece!

In some ways Peeples hasn't been allowed to really shine in her other endeavors. That Arsenio Hall dance party show that she hosted went down the ratings toilet because the music was limited to rap. Not necessarily good rap, either. When they tried to broaden the musical offerings, it was already too late.

Prior to moving to the Charisma label, she released a No. 1 dance hit in 1988 called "Trouble."

"It was all gratifying, but never completely satisfying. With this record I've been able to break through. I've put myself into the grooves and inside the lyrics. I've made it a personal statement and I'm thrilled with the results."

Peeples has a good vision of what we need more of in modern music, "Fans want spirit in their music, they want to celebrate life. They want to lose their inhibitions and get up and jam. But, I believe they're also tired of superficiality. That's why I threw myself so completely into this project. I wanted to go deep. Everyone's looking for meaning, and the meaning has to be sincere, soulful. These days, a great record has to have it all. It has to make you move, make you feel and make you think."

Amen.