Tell It Like It Is

Honest and urban, Stephanie McKay puts the feeling back in to soul music with her self-penned album Tell It Like It Is.

When it comes to contemporary soul music, there will always be some naysayers who go on and on about how back in the day, the tunes were more true, more pure, and more the real thing. Well, somebody forgot to tell Stephanie McKay. A respected, dynamic session singer (for musicians like Kelis and Roy Hargrove), McKay self-pens her songs, and they’re seductive but never overt. There’s an old-fashioned restraint and some grown-girl sass in those straight-ahead vocals. On cuts like the intoxicating title track (peppered with just a hint of southern soul) or the sweet midtempo “This Letter”—no texting for this lady—McCay gives you a citified attitude as gritty as it is romantic. On her second album (and first domestic release), this Bronx native proves the good old days of rhythm-and-blues are right now.

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