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  • Jonathan Widran


The name of Shelita Burke’s 2015 debut EP proved truly prophetic, as fans all over the world were Transfixed by the hard working, well-traveled multi-talented performer. The collection was the #14 best-selling singer-songwriter album on Amazon, and NPR Music – which played her song “Swim” regularly – named her “An Artist To Watch” at SXSW 2016.

Since then, the globally touring indie sensation has only gotten bolder and more insightful in fusing her expertise with synth sounds (in multiple genres) with a rangy, soul searing, highly emotive voice singing about the ups, downs, curves and twists and insanity of love and its aftermath.

Just as her sonic textures have gotten richer and more diverse, her charming ongoing conceit of single word titles reaches an impactful zenith on her self-titled full length debut (after multiple Eps). Here, every track has an exclamation point (!) after it, as if to either declare a hallelujah (let’s hear it for celebrating “Libations!” and feeling “Special!”), let us know she REALLY means business (so pay attention to the “Power!” of that), or command us to do something, like “Save!” her or “Live!” – even if the songs themselves roll more like personal heartfelt narratives.

The best example of this switch to all exclamatory titles is the switch from the quirky seduction of “Penetrate” (on her Special EP) to the oomph of “Penetrate!” on the new album. It’s the same exact song, but somehow it has more psychological impact because Shelita shares it like it’s a new driving force in her (and our) lives. With other artists, perhaps, such a shift might seem gimmicky, but Shelita’s combination of killer vocals, artful production (by Bellringer) and visionary creative evolution overcomes any skepticism the presentation might evoke.

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