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2008-10-02 12:43

Real star quality is rare, despite what record companies tell us. But Nivea radiates it effortlessly. Her debut album NIVEA sports nineteen tracks of bright and sassy R&B fun shot through with 24 carat production.

The feisty 18-year-old first appeared on the radar after collaborating on Mystikal's runaway single "Danger". The apparent ease of this high profile debut belies many years of hard work.

Since the age of 15 Nivea has been determinedly elbowing her way into R&B. She and her manager spent two years grinding their way through 24 demo tracks - all of them featuring the industry's top producers. In fact, seven of the tracks on her debut are taken directly from the demo sessions. As a result the production credits on NIVEA read like a greatest hits album. Amongst others Brian Cox (Mariah Carey), The Neptunes (Mystikal, *NSYNC), Leslie Braithwaite (Madonna, Michael Jackson) and Rico Wade & Organized Noize (TLC, Outkast) all lent their skills to the disk.

A number of the tracks on the debut are destined for hit status. The husky harmonics of "Ya Ya Ya" recall TLC at their best, while the hook-filled "Don't Mess With the Radio" is sure to fill dancefloors. On "Check Your Man" Mystikal returns the favour, punctuating the track with his signature buzzsaw vocals.

While the slew of high profile collaborators threaten to overshadow some of the tracks, Nivea generally holds her own superbly. There are still a couple of misses: "Laundromat" wants to be flippantly fun but ends up as silly and monotonous. Nivea's voice is still too youthful and fresh to carry angst filled numbers like "Have Mercy" and "25 Reasons", but given time she could grow into them.

There are plenty of things wrong with this debut. It's highly derivative and totally artificial - the aural equivalent of candy floss. But Nivea carries the whole package with such grace and delivers every track with such verve that it's hard not to like her. She may be spinning candy floss, but its delicious and addictively sweet.

- Alistair Fairweather
Nivea, the cute new 18-year-old star on the R&B scene is musical candyfloss. Nothing wrong with that.

die beers 2003/05/13 4:03 PM
you rock luv ya baby girl
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