“I was a stranger in my home, I broke through the concrete and the stone.”
This affirmation, disguised as the opening lyrics of Joy Denalane’s single “Top of My Love,” is a declaration of discovering self-love so strong that no one will ever put it asunder.
And that’s the point for this newly minted Motown artist, who’s been dubbed Germany’s queen of soul. “Self-doubt and loneliness are not acceptable for the protagonist in the long run,” said Denalane in a statement.
This Berlin born daughter of a South African father and a German mother has been on our radar since her U.S. debut Mamani in 2002. (In fact, I saw Denalane perform at New York’s Joes Pub and became an instant fan, vibing through the language barrier as she sang in her native tongue.)
But after releasing several albums abroad, including an all-English album Maureen, Denalane is breaking new ground again as she gears up for her debut Motown release, Let Yourself Be Loved, in September. Partnering with such a storied label has its benefits: fellow label mate BJ The Chicago Kid assists on her single “I Believe” and the video for “Top of My Love,” filmed at live at the Metropol Berlin, has instant vintage feels throughout.
Up next for the artist, her single “Put In Work.” With its Aretha Franklin-esque runs and riffs, Denalane will surely be the dubbed the global queen of soul.