So far, 2012 has proven to be a great year for new soul music releases. Ohio native and educator, Conya Doss, is set to add to the list with her sixth release, A Pocketful of Purpose. She first whet our appetites earlier this year with the single, “Don’t Change.” Now, with her latest full-length release, she intends to fill us with Purpose. With this album, Doss introduces her most cohesive, polished work to date. Although one could find fault with her apparent refusal to experiment more with her sound this time around, any hard feelings will be dissipated once listeners sink their teeth into the effortless, sweet, sultry sound that Ms. Doss owns on this album.
If there’s one thing she has been since her 2002 debut, it’s consistent, and there isn’t one bad song in the set. The album starts off on an uplifting note with “Reaching for the Stars.” In it, Conya sings, “I see you reaching for the stars, just remember who you are, ’cause I know, you know who you are.” You never know who she is singing to, but that’s the beauty of the song. It may speak to you, to me, to any number of students she’s educated over the years, or to anyone on the brink of accomplishing their goals. She also touches on her love for son in “Letter,” weaving together a vision of all that she’d like him to become, and punctuates it with lovingly issued directives along the way.
As is expected, however, the subject of relationships and all the related complexities comprise the bulk of the material on the album. “Paradise” and “Here for You” are odes to everlasting love while songs like “I Want It All” serve as reminders that not all is fair in love. In “Just Me,” she is a woman of confidence who knows exactly what she is and who she isn’t. She sings, “Just me for all that it’s worth, take me for better or worse. Nobody like me on this earth, take me for better or worse.” If there’s one song that feels slightly out of place, it’s “Jamie (Come Home),” a tale about a talented young man who loses himself in search of the spotlight.
Even more so than with past albums, A Pocketful of Purpose seems like it was intended to be performed live. Much of Conya’s fan base has been built up through her live performances, so it makes sense that live instrumentation was an integral part of the album. In each song, the instrumentalists complement, without ever overshadowing her. In the too brief “Lost,” it’s easy to actually get lost in the groove before it segues into the contemplative “Where Do We Go From Here.” While instruments are heavy throughout the album, they’re all stripped away and replaced with a simple piano accompaniment on the wedding song ready “I’ll Say Yes.”
Whether A Pocketful of Purpose will finally garner Ms. Doss the attention she deserves is yet to be seen. Pick up A Pocketful of Purpose and see just why everyone could use a bit more purpose in their lives.