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Letoya Luckett, one of the original members of Destiny’s Child, was booted from the group just as success came, a fact that will always follow her around. It’s a shame, really. But Letoya is an excellent debut from an artist who was destined to become a footnote. The album is a classy affair of quality soul as well as a statement of Letoya’s own individuality, an indication that she’s moved beyond Beyonce.


And a confidence is present on each of the sixteen tracks here. From the sound of it, a lot of time was put into crafting the album. Despite flashes of crunk and Southern-style hip-hop, Letoya plays more like a Faith Evans record, resting within a pleasant mid-tempo groove. It’s all classic soul samples, such as the Stylistics-sampling lead single “Torn” and the equally enchanting “She Don’t,” which borrows from the Spinners. The entire first half of the album works on this level, mixing soulful productions with excellent arrangements and confident vocals.


Letoya is no Beyonce when it comes to belting out, but she competently carries the album with her fierce and assured performance. One standout is “What Love Can Do,” which bumps with savage energy thanks to Letoya’s solid delivery. Even the up-tempo tracks work well here, in part because Letoya has a more down-home vibe than Destiny’s Child could ever pull off. She seems more comfortable on tracks such as “Tear Da Club Up” and “All Eyes on Me” than Beyonce and company sounded on their ghetto hit “Soldier.” And therein lies the real statement of Letoya’s debut. She has effectively separated herself from that Destiny’s Child soap opera in the only way possible: by creating great music.


She may never truly escape the comparisons to Beyonce and Destiny’s Child, but with her self-titled debut, she has resurrected her career in high style.


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Artist: http://www.letoya.net/

Label: http://www.capitolrecords.com/

Audio: http://myspace.com/letoya