Wednesday, May 09, 2012


It seems like every time I listen to Conya Doss, her voice has more depth, soulfulness and maturity. I’ve had a chance to review her last three records – Still, Blu Transition and now A Pocketful of Purpose. I also believe that the songwriting on this project is tighter, so Doss and her team continue to improve. Given that they started from a pretty high level, that’s a good thing.

Even with all that she has working for her, Doss comes into the music business with some built-in disadvantages: She is an educator in the Cleveland schools and she is also a parent – which means that she is the first educator. Doss takes both roles seriously, and that means she is conscientious about the images that she projects. That means Doss won’t allow herself to be objectified, which seems to be the price a lot of female vocalists have to pay for admittance into the mainstream.

It’s clear from listening to A Pocketful of Purpose that Doss was thinking about the pound of spiritual flesh that the industry often exacts from artists and about raising a son who will move through this world as healing agent. The soulful track “Letter” is a musical dispatch that her son (and all sons and daughters) will listen to and appreciate. Doss tells her son that he is loved and that he is one thing that she always wanted. She reminds him that he has a voice and to use that voice to make the world a better place. “The world is looking for leaders/I want you to grow up and be a real man,” Doss coos in a tune that works both as a charge and a lullaby.

If “Letter” is a lullaby, then “Jamie” is a cautionary tale. This song tells the story of an emerging vocalist who finds success as a singer, but loses connection to the family and friends who provided early encouragement and foundation.

Doss has long been a much sought after duet partner, and she places another gem on A Pocketful of Purpose. “What About You And Me” is a cut with a sweet Motown-like vibe that carries the story of two friends who realize that they might want to think about taking things to the next level. Doss melds the song’s young love theme with vocals that are passionate and sensual.

As good as the whole of Pocketful is, it's the album’s last track where even long time Doss fans will hear the growth in her vocals. Accompanied only by a piano, Doss displays a jazz singer’s clarity of vocals and more remarkable vocal range. A singer can’t hide weaknesses if they’re only accompanied by a piano, and Conya Doss has no weaknesses to hide on this tune or on A Pocketful of Purpose’s other 12 tracks. She's simply an artist at the top of her game. Highly Recommended

By Howard Dukes

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