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Rachel Wong’s sophomore album, Letters to You, is a soulful and beautiful collection of music. Her voice is clear, powerful, not bogged down with embellishments and is the true masterpiece of the album.
Wong, a finalist in Ford’s Gimme the Gig II Contest and a Seattle native, expressed in an interview with SheKnows that the city doesn’t have a huge pop scene, but rather a strong indie folk and underground hip-hop influence. She has instead drawn inspiration from artists such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys. Letters to You has a stronger Adele influence, she stated, what with its focus on powerful vocals and lyrics, as well as its highly personal elements.
Her second album is definitely heavily influenced by Adele, and Wong is more than capable of emulating the successful singer by telling deep stories with her songs and having her vocals dominate throughout. Unlike Adele, however, Wong’s songs blend together in such a way that one song is barely decipherable from the next. True, each tells a story, and a personal one at that, but those stories are lost. While each song is beautiful on its own, for the most part, they all sound the same when played in succession.
One song does stand out from the rest: “You Got What I Need.” The second to last track is a welcome change of pace from the first eight pieces. While it is more upbeat, Wong does not lose her powerful and soulful flair.
While I didn’t feel that Letters to You was put together in a way that showcased the beauty of each song, for me, Wong’s voice was the takeaway. It is incredible, soulful and unwavering.