Dionne Bromfield

Introducing Dionne Bromfield

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The colossal success of Amy Winehouse's seminal 2006 breakthrough, Back to Black, not only transformed the troubled singer into a headline-grabbing transatlantic megastar, but also appears to have spawned an entire sub-industry. Following its producer Mark Ronson's journey from behind the mixing desk to frontman status and her own father cashing in on her notoriety with an album of big-band covers, her goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield, is the latest in line to ride on the coattails of her star power. Not that Amy is objecting, as she has not only signed the 13-year-old vocalist to her Lioness Records label, but has also performed with her on Strictly Come Dancing and lent her Back to Black's producer Jon Moon and her own touring band for her debut album, Introducing Dionne Bromfield. Unsurprisingly, it echoes the old-school R&B, Phil Spector-esque production and Brill Building girl group sound of her mentor's opus, but while the aforementioned's occasional hip-hop leanings and heart-achingly raw lyrics provided a contemporary edge to proceedings, Bromfield plays it straight with 12 largely faithful cover versions of some of the most enduring soul classics of the '60s. On songs that play to her strengths, such as Millie's "My Boy Lollipop" and "Oh Henry," Stevie Wonder's "With a Child's Heart" (later covered, of course, by a young Michael Jackson), and the Chiffons' "He's So Fine," her infectious enthusiasm and cutesy but strong vocals almost match the unbridled joy of the originals, while her Lily Allen-ish ska reworking of the Shirelles' "Foolish Little Girl" is an admirable attempt at making the doo wop classic her own. However, when tackling songs originally performed by such iconic and much older singers as Aretha Franklin ("Until You Come Back to Me") and Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (a duet with Zalon Thompson on "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"), she resembles a schoolgirl singing into her hairbrush along to her mother's old record collection. While Introducing Dionne Bromfield is undeniably a byproduct of the age-old tradition of nepotism, there's enough potential here to suggest that she could have made it on her own merits in the future. Whether she has the ability to produce an album as universally loved as her godmother's remains to be seen, but this is a respectable first offering, which with better A&R could have been the perfect introduction to a charming and youthful vocal talent.

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