Suppose your idea of a gospel album is one with a minimal appeal to those outside its core demographic or a music format that seems to be a thing of the past, one leaning heavily on old-school spirituals or funky-blues dedications. In that case, Curtisia Denae’s latest full-length release will undoubtedly make you think again.
Faith is, of course, a very personal affair, but it is also something that brings people together in a joint celebration. So, any music made for both acts of devotion and of has a difficult job as it needs to tick conflicting boxes – namely, those relating to unity and personal belief.
Curtisia Denae does just that, and Elevated manages to bridge the gap between the spiritual and the secular, the music accessible enough for those perhaps not dedicated to the same calling to enjoy the perfect expression of their relationship with a higher power yet.
Elevated, musically speaking, is, for the most part, a collection of pop-rock songs, the deft blending of weight and accessibility, grace and grandeur. It is built on solid soul foundations and reveals in the sumptuous harmonies that make gospel music so special.
Kicking things off with The Answer is Jesus is the perfect calling card for an artist looking to freshen up the image of devotional music. Its slightly Afro-beat grooves, gentle dance vibes and mellifluous melodies would easily be at home in the mainstream charts.
Halleluyah wanders passed like a neo-soul, future classic in the making, a collection of grace and groove, delicacy and sheer devotion; the title track is a glorious, trip-hop, slow jam and Lord I thank You is the sound of the old-time spiritual turned into a late night, chill out zone, dance number, suitably euphoric enough for both dance diva and the devoted and dedicated.
The album vibe errs on the side of the laid back, all the better for getting the message across, be it the piano balladry of Morning Glory, the cascading guitars and dynamic waves of I Rejoice or the epic and anthemic Back Home. There is even room to round things off with a glorious, almost a capella, take on Psalm 23, the likes of which you will probably not have heard before.
If you are looking to spread the word, this is how you do it. No one, and I mean no one, is going to walk past such infectious music without stopping to soak up its gorgeously life-affirming sweetness, and once engaged, who knows, they might find plenty more in the music and lyrics that feels right for them. And if not, no harm done; everyone goes away smiling, and everyone has had the time of their life. Perfect.