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Genres You Will Love
Urban/R&B: Soul Moods: Mood: Sex Music Urban/R&B: Philly Soul

By Location
United States - Pennsylvania

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Jaguar Wright

Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Jaguar Wright's name can be added to the list of
such Philly-based neo-soul talents as Grammy award-winning rap band The Roots and
multi-platinum hitmakers Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild. Wright earned rave reviews for
her background vocal stint at Jay-Z' MTV Unplugged appearance during December
2001. Around February 2002, she began appearing in a national TV ad for Coca Cola.
Her energetic stage shows garnered favorable write-ups in The New York Times, The
Washington Post, Newsweek, and Rolling Stone.
In a kind of homage to the old-school, Wright covers fellow Philly singer Patti LaBelle's
hit "Love, Need and Want You" on her debut album, Denials Delusions and Decisions,
which was issued by Motive/MCA on January 29, 2002. With production by members of
the Roots, James Poyser, Richard Nichols, Scott Storch, Pino Palladino, Larry Gold,
and Vikter Duplaix, the album is a provocative brew of gut-wrenching soul and incisive,
life-influenced lyrics. The results spins a "fo' real" autobiographical tint (helped along by
salty language on the uncensored version of the album), moving some to drawing
comparisons to her contemporary Mary J. Blige and R&B/rap-roots mother Millie
Jackson as well as Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. Still, on Denials Delusions and
Decisions Wright offers an enticing, unique portrait of a young woman trying to find her
way through life, through songs that are mesmerizing whether they're biting or beautiful.
The singer grew up in a household where it was forbidden to listen to secular music.
Her earliest musical influence came through attending church events, social gatherings,
and weddings where her father would sing. Still Wright got her fill of such favorites as
Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Minnie Riperton by attending parties, listening to
music while her parents were away, and sneaking into the family's garage at midnight to
listen to the radio. Wright started performing as a rapper in a group called Philly Blunts.
Four years later after they disbanded, she began doing background vocal work for
artists in Philly, New York, and New Jersey.
In early 1999, while working at a convenience store in New Jersey, Wright heeded the
advice of her vocal coach and began pursuing a full-time music career. While attending
the release party for the Roots' Things Fall Apart album, she met Leslie Arnette-Pina
and Scott Storch and was added to the lineup of the Black Lily, an acclaimed
performance showcase held at the Five Spot in Philly, and later toured with the Roots
on the Okayplayer Tour. After singing on the band's album The Roots Come Alive on the
track "The Lesson, Pt. 3 (Its Over Now)" and the single "What You Want" from The Best
Man movie soundtrack, Wright signed with the band's Motive label.
With thumbs-up reviews in Vibe, Entertainment Weekly, and Rolling Stone,Denials
Delusions and Decisions has several standout cuts: Wright shows a tender side on
"Country Song": "I'd watch a fuzzy screen with you/as long as I gotcha, boo." The
singer's own struggles as a teen mother seem to be mirrored on world-weary phat funk
of "Same Sh*t Different Day, Pt. 1." "I Can't Wait" is a sly, percolating duet between
Wright and fellow Philadelphian Bilal that's perfect for bedroom bopping. The Roots'
Black Thought guests on "I Don't Know" and "Ain't Nobody Playin'." "Lineage" is
Wright's ode to family life with lyrics that paint a vivid picture. The clavinet-laced, strident
"2 Too Many" has a groove along the lines of Stevie Wonder's "Maybe Your Baby" from
Talking Book. The introspective "Self Love" is inspiring and almost ten minutes long. ~
Ed Hogan,