Yesterday, singer Sade Adu celebrated her 59th birthday. Tributes poured in for her across social media as other artists and fans alike made it a point to wish her a happy born day. For singer Norelle, an Instagram post just wouldn’t do, however. Instead, she hit the studio to pay tribute to the iconic Brit and the result is To Sade, Love Norelle, a collection of reworked versions of Sade’s most classic hits.
The five-track project finds Norelle reworking such classics as “Your Love is King” and “Is It a Crime,” taking them from the smooth, sultry originals to contemporary, radio-friendly R&B jams. While we’re normally subscribers to the “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it,” approach, shockingly these versions somehow work without sounding forced or contrived. “Your Love is King” features acoustic guitar at its centerpiece but has enough drums and bass added to make it a bop. Meanwhile, “Kiss of Life” becomes a slow and sensual grind worthy of being added to any mood-setting playlists you may be creating. Trumpeter Keyon Harrold joins Norelle on “Tattoo,” while drummer David Haddon lends his skills to “Your Love is King.”
For the homage, Norelle teamed up with producers Romero Mosely, Jairus “J.MO” Mozee, Jon Winfree, Chris Johnson, K. Bell The Producer and Iyeball to realize her tribute to Sade’s enduring legacy. Although the name Norelle may be new to music lovers, the singer actually is a veteran on the music scene. Previously, she recorded under the name Lolah Brown, in addition to providing background vocals for the likes of Nicki Minaj, John Legend and Rihanna. Of the name change, she says it was inspired by a need to capture her journey. “‘Norelle,’ which means light and woman of honor, is the perfect transition to the woman I have become,” she said in a statement. Take Norelle’s loving tribute for a spin, and see if she did these classic singles justice.