Prince has a long tradition of taking young women under his purple wing and pushing them into the spotlight. There have been some good (yay Sheila E!) and some bad (ugh Carmen Electra...), but there haven't been many as genuine and worthy of respect in their own right as the Cameroonian singer Andy Allo. Although her latest record Superconductor was produced by Prince and features performances from members of the New Power Generation, Andy Allo is clearly the real person in control.
Sure, there are Prince's trademarked synth stabs on the title track, and “Yellow Gold” would easily have been a highlight on a Revolution-era record. But on the lead single “People Pleaser,” Andy Allo is less interested in being another synth-pop princess. She makes it abundantly clear that she wants to be (and is well on her way to being...) a soul queen. “I used to be a people pleaser, but I changed my mind” is a statement of purpose. As Prince's latest protege, she's been given a golden ticket, but she's not going to try to be someone she's not to take advantage of it. Unsurprisingly, the results are explosive.
So it makes sense then that the best songs are the ones that seem to owe more to classic soul acts like Sly and the Family Stone and the Staple Singers. The terminally funky “If I Was King” and album closer “When Stars Collide” are unlikely to be hit singles at 6 minutes and change. But when Andy Allo lets herself settle into a groove, she transcends being just another in a long line of Prince's disciples. It's those moments where Superconductor really becomes electric.
Check out our exclusive interview with Andy Allo here. And you can pick up Superconductor from iTunes and Amazon.
And check out her awesome cover of Bob Marley's Waiting in Vain below...
- Words by Nathan Leigh