Sound — 10
Shelly Bhushan has the blues-soul eloquence of Joss Stone, the simmering R&B/pop voicing of Ashanti, and the acoustic jazz sensibilities of Norah Jones. Imagine all of these qualities wrapped up in one and you've got Shelly Bhushan. Her debut full length album Picking Daisies on RedCard Records was produced by James Cruz who also plays guitar on the record. Bhushan sings and plays acoustic guitar on the tracks. She works her vocal melodies into the funky prancing grooves neatly latching onto any beat, and if the music is sparse her vocals create the beat to sit on. There is a benevolent spring in her vocal lifts that makes her sound upbeat even as she is singing about bleeding hearts and black and blues, similarly to Tristan Prettyman. Shelly Bhushan is a very emotive singer putting emphasis on her vocal fervor and landscaped resonance which embed picturesque valleys and peaks in the rhythmic rolls. The funky piano spritz on the title track is fretted by Bhushan's lustrous vocal timbres. Her singing is both classic and modern having a vivid vibrancy all throughout. Numbers like Beautiful Me and Not To Me have a cool sensuality paired with lacing string movements and intricate tweaks. Bhushan works in a few jazz horns, soothing soul piano keys and acoustic rock vibes. The ballad Birthday Suit has Bhushan on vocals and acoustic guitar and the relationship radiates of a perennial attachment. The upbeat, toe-tapping, butt-swinging, country twang of The Nest concludes the album on a different note from where it began but it really widens the record's array of hues and shows Bhushan's diversity to sing all shapes and sizes of music.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics address personal demons and private issues like break ups and feelings of inadequacies. Her song Beautiful Me touches on these subjects when her vocals assure, What do I look like/ Not your image of a perfect model/ So what does that mean/ That I can't have a sexy little waddleShould I feel sad or bad or mad that I'm not who I'm supposed to be/ No, I think I'm glad that I'm more than what you see/ Beautiful me. She has an in-you-face approach to writing lyrics and gets very intimate in her lyrics.
Overall Impression — 10
Shelly Bhushan likes the way she sings and the music she chooses. It does not mater if what she likes is fashionable or not, she makes it her fashion. That attitude and approach to music and living is similar to Cyndi Lauper and Alana Davis and it has kept these two singers/songwriters grounded. Bhushan's album has a jazz-rock setting with scoops of blues, soul, and pop. Oddly, you don't have to like any of these styles to like Shelly Bhushan's album. She has a style all her own that isn't a staple of any clique or genre. A denizen of New York City via Dallas, Texas, Shelly Bhushan has a rawness in her silky vocal strides that isn't readily duplicated or sighted much in female artists.