Friday, December 16, 2022

"Let Go" by Sharon Bryant

Song#:  4003
Date:  08/19/1989
Debut:  98
Peak:  34
Weeks:  13
Genre:  R&B, Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Bryan first got attention when she became one of the lead singers in the R&B group Atlantic Starr. Starting in 1978, she would make five albums with the band and sing the lead vocal on their first Pop Top 40 hit in 1982, "Circles" (#38 Pop/#2 R&B/#9 Dance). However, after the band's fifth album failed to break the band wider, Bryant chose to leave for a solo career. It seems she initially tried to stay on with the band's label A&M, but when that failed she moved on to work as a session singer before finally landing a deal with Wing Records. Bryant would then work on a solo album to be titled Here I Am. She would co-write five tracks for the album while co-producing seven, including this first single that was written by Darryl Duncan. The song would do well at R&B getting to #2. It would be able to cross over to the Pop chart where it cracked the Top 40 doing slightly better than her Atlantic Starr hit "Circles." The song would help sell a few album and it would reach #27 R&B/#139 Pop.

ReduxReview:  Bryant had a terrific voice and she elevated this standard late-80s R&B/dance-pop tune. The production was also on point, but in the hands of a lesser vocalist, I think this song wouldn't have had a chance. Bryant had all the makings of a solo star and this song wasn't a bad beginning. However, I think she needed stronger material to really take her over the finish line. I think Jam & Lewis could have done that for her, but unfortunately that didn't work out (see below). Still, this was a good track that at least earned her a #2 R&B hit.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Stories have circulated that songwriters/producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis presented some of their songs to Bryant for a debut album, but that she rejected them. Then those same tracks would later appear on Janet Jackson's Control album. According to an interview with Jimmy Jam, that wasn't quite the case. With Bryant and Jam & Lewis hooked up with A&M Records, Jam & Lewis were offered the chance to record an album with Bryant following her departure from Atlantic Starr. Jam & Lewis did play some material for her (although it is not clear what exactly they presented), but it seems what they had wasn't what she was looking for and both parties went their own ways. After the album with Bryant fell through,the A&R rep at A&M sent a roster of artists over to Jam & Lewis and asked them if there was anyone on the list they wanted to work with. One name stood out - Janet Jackson. That led to Jam & Lewis collaborating with Jackson on her huge breakthrough LP Control. Jimmy Jam mentioned in the interview that had they got to work with Bryant, it would not have been like the Control album as they try to specifically tailor songs to the artist. Therefore, it was after first meeting Jackson that Jam & Lewis got a feel for what she wanted and began working on material specific to her. When she arrived in Minneapolis to work with the pair, they first played "Control" and it was exactly what Jackson was looking for. From then on, she collaborated with the team and came out of it with a career defining album.


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