Naomi Wachira Displays Conviction and Grace on Self-Titled Full-Length

Naomi Wachira, Naomi Wachira (out now, self-released, naomiwachira.com)

As a self-confident Kenyan-American woman, Wachira knows herself, what she wants, and what she hopes to see from others—all recurring themes in this full-length follow-up to her 2012 EP African Girl. She has strong beliefs and isn’t afraid to face those who think differently, as heard on “You Better”: “I’m the fool who believes that I can change the world/Don’t waste my time if you don’t wanna be the same or do the same.” “We Are in Trouble” is a similar call to action: “How long will it take before we realize that we are in this together?” Wachira sings with so much conviction there’s no doubt she means every word, and her Sade-like voice (self-accompanied on acoustic guitar) is warm and inviting as she gracefully reveals a vast vocal range. The album also features Evan Flory-Barnes (Threat of Beauty, Industrial Revelation) on bass, cellist Natalie Hall (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis), Darren Reynolds (Patrick & The Locomotive) on drums, and Latin percussionist Lalo Bello (Jacob Bain & Publish the Quest). Thanks to producer Damien Jurado’s light hand in the studio, Naomi Wachira has a delicate feel, with neither vocals nor instrumentation outshining the other. As a whole, this isn’t a story of a woman trying to find herself, but of a woman who has already worked through those challenges and is now stronger because of them. Wachira supports this idea right to the last track, leaving the listener with “I Know,” a final example of her independent spirit: “I’ll keep on fighting for me/’Cause I know what I’m meant to be.” (Fri., Feb. 21, Seattle Art Museum)

 
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