Review By Sylvie Marie & HerSong Staff
The W.A M. Awards celebrate the year’s most outstanding independent artists from around the world in multiple genres and categories. "Best Song" and "Best Album" nominations were based on Artistry, Musicianship, Originality, Professionalism, Diversity, and Excellence. W.A.M. stands for "We Are he Music Makers.' Natalie Jeans' song, "I Am" was the 2020 W.A.M. Award Winner for Best Social Justice song.
"I Am" is a song written and performed from Natalie Jean's perspective and experiences as a strong Black woman and artist who won't give into fear. With this review, it is appropriate to start with Natalie's poignant and moving lyrics as they speak her truth and the truth of a nation.
"I Am a Black woman born free And you can’t take, you can’t take that away from me I won’t be told what and who I am supposed to be I won’t give in to your fears Nor, will I give you any of my tears I Am, I Am, I Am,"
"I Am" is brilliant on multiple levels: emotional, musical, intellectual, and spiritual. The song opens with a quiet and beautiful finger-picking pattern on acoustic guitar drawing the listener into Natalie's hurtul story about racism. "Look at me. Really look at me. You Don’t Know me yet you judge me." Natalie's vocal performance really stands out from the start as she sings with a subdued confidence.
Alexi Von Guggenberg composed and produced the song honoring Natalie's story. Starting with an intimate musical landscape of a woman and a guitar, the music grows into a large clap-stomp section that gives the song power and resiliency. Guggenberg perfectly captures the inner intensity and resliency of Natalie's lyrics.
"I Am" is more than a song, it is a statement and a piece of "herstory." Black woman not only face racism in their everyday lives, they also face discrimination in the music industry even though Black female artists are the most popular artists in today's music scene. Natalie Jean is one of the world's most successful independent artists and her song, "I Am" demonstrates why her music is so well-regarded. "I Am" is the best social justice song of the year, and possibly the decade.
About Natalie Jean Natalie Jean is an award winning, multi-nominated singer/songwriter performer. She is also a Voting Member in the Recording Academy (GRAMMYS). NatalieJean is a versatile performer and singer. She sings and writes for many genres , such as Jazz, Pop, R&B, Blues, World, Rock, Country, Americana, Inspirational, Adult Contemporary, Alternative, and, Dance. She can also sing in French, Spanish, English, and Haitian Creole. NatalieJean is mostly influenced by artists such as Lena Horne, Celine Dion, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Ella Fitzgerald. She has performed at many venues in the MD/DC. She also has performed in LA, New York ,Nashville, and North Carolina. She also appeared on WPFW, a Jazz station in Washington DC, and many other stations around the world. She has been nominated over 100 times for her music and has won many awards. She has released six albums, Obsession, NatalieJean, Lecons D'Amour, Unafraid, Haiti Mwen Renmenw, and Where Do We Go From Here?. She has also released several singles.
For more information on Natalie Jean, please visit her website.