I’ve already chimed in on the use of the word “songstress” plenty before, so I might as well lend my piece to the discourse once again. For me, unless we’re talking about Ella Fitzgerald or Etta James, the term “songstress” comes off as kind of archaic. Like, it’s 2023; should we really single out artists based on sex instead of…you know…altogether ditching an engendered midcentury descriptor and letting the music speak for itself?
Short answer: Sometimes…maybe.
Exhibit A: Austin’s Akina Adderley. Full-bodied performances, unfettering feminist energy, and a direct link to jazz-and-R&B-defining greats? Yeah. That’s a songstress. As the grand-niece of Cannonball Adderley, granddaughter of Nat Adderley, and daughter of Luther Vandross Music Director/Co-Songwriter Nat Adderley, Jr., genre transcendence is literally encoded in Akina’s DNA. And between her eponymous octet, NORI and Charlie Faye & The Fayettes, plus numerous guest appearances on Austin-produced albums, Akina just doesn’t miss.
Akina has some don’t-miss shows over the next couple months, but she’s stolen today’s spotlight thanks to her latest studio single. And it’s the best kind of love song – the torch variety. Bookended by Nat Jr.’s explorative ivories, “Where Does The Love Go?” would make for an intimately welcome intermission between Frank Sinatra’s Only the Lonely and Billie Holiday’s Music for Torching. The sense of space in this arrangement is nothing short of astonishing, easily matching the calibre of your favorite orchestral tearjerkers. The only thing we’re surprised by is that “Where Does The Love Go?” isn’t a Broadway darling…at least not yet.
- Do you want to submit a song for a Song of the Day feature? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the phrase “KUTX Song of the Day” included in the subject line.