Surprisingly in the most pleasant way possible, Naomi Sharon is the closest contemporary vocalist I've experienced (thus far) to truly encapsulate the mysticism and sensuality of Sade Adu (or the enigmatic timbre of Weekend Players frontwoman Rachel Foster). The icon’s influence is obvious in Obsidian, from the composition to the musical aesthetic and, yes, Sharon's voice.
There won’t be any escaping the comparisons, but at the very least what we can do to respect Naomi Sharon’s artistry is acknowledge that, yes, the similarities are there, but this doesn’t seem like imitation. There is emotional depth in her lyrics and her performance of those lyrics. I’ll say that Elder Adu gave artists like Naomi Sharon license to be unapologetically emotive, to express their deepest emotions without feeling held back by phantom criticisms that the lyrics are too drenched in melodrama. Tracks like "Definition of Love" and "If This Is Love" allow Sharon to fall effortlessly into poetics without fearing accusations of "purple" dramatics. She carries great warmth in her delivery and even more intimacy within her lyrical vulnerability.
Obsidian is simple music carried on the back of a very stripped-bare voice free of embellishment but still very obviously and actively grown. I’m here for this kind of expression.