In 2003, Terri Walker took her native London with authority. Untitled, her Def Soul debut, featured 14 slices of hot-buttered neo-soul that relaxed comfortably between tradition and the latest thing; it was an immediate hit, and Walker soon found herself vying against Beyoncé Knowles for Best Album honors at that year's Music of Black Origin (MOBO) awards. Walker studied opera as a child, and pointed to this training as reason for her fluid, effortlessly shifting vocal style. By 17, she was actively pursuing music. She had designs on a career as a soul singer, modeled after influences like Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Mica Paris. However, the big sound at the time was U.K. garage, so Walker found herself contributing vocals to tracks from types like Shanks & Bigfoot. All the same, she never lost sight of soul goal, and eventually hooked up with a stable of producers who were thinking the same thing. By 2002, traditionalism and organic sounds were making waves with hip-hop and urban soul audiences, and Terri Walker's sound fit right in. Untitled dropped in early 2003, featuring collaborations with Mos Def and Blueblood, and the accolades started rolling in. ~ Johnny Loftus
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