Everyone still knows Nikki Yanofsky as the girl who sang the massive anthem, “I Believe”, for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to deliver a hit on that level again, but that’s not from lack of talent. The music industry can’t seem to figure out what to do with her. Her first album, Nikki, featuring jazz covers, was pleasant but unexciting. Now, she’s back with album #2, Little Secret, and she’s being guided under the legendary hand of executive producer Quincy Jones. So obviously this sophomore effort has a lot more going for it, even if it isn’t a home run.
The first single and opening track, “Something New”, is though. It manages to turn a jazz number in a catchy pop tune. Same goes for “Blessed With Your Curse”, a funky jam that has Nikki giving the attitude that the music needs. Quincy uses a lot of familiar samples on Little Secret that helps bring the fun to the album, and Nikki kills the vocals on every track. You’ll be reminded of Amy Winehouse‘s Grammy-winning Back to Black album, but unfortunately, Nikki lacks the grit and the soul of Amy’s voice to take the material to the next level.
It’s apparent in the slower tracks like “Waiting On The Sun”, “Out Of Nowhere”, “You Mean The World To Me”, and “Bang”. Nikki sounds great, but it’s all too vanilla. You’ll find that your attention wanes the deeper you get into the album. Adding soul and grit to her voice will simply come with time. Only 20 years old, Nikki is still maturing as an artist. Quincy Jones has definitely improved her sound and Little Secret is a big step in the right direction for talented star. I still believe.