It’s taken Marsha Ambrosius more than a decade since debuting with Grammy-nominated duo Floetry to put out her first solo album Late Nights & Early Mornings, but the operatically-trained singer is ready to spread her wings and soar. The English lass collaborates with an impressive cast on her debut, with production by Just Blaze (“Far Away”), Rich Harrison (“Late Nights & Early Mornings”), Dre & Vidal (“Your Hands”), and more, as well as writing credits from Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill.
The romance-laden album, set to a full-bodied musical backdrop, explores the Brit’s relationship experiences ranging from behavioral remorse to innocent naiveté. Rap-Up.com presents five must-hear songs from Late Nights & Early Mornings prior to its March 1 release.
Co-written by Alicia Keys, this song sets a romantic tone at the album’s onset, cruising along with paced percussion and a delicate piano line. On the languid tune, Marsha opens up about longing to meet up with her man, her voice quivering in anticipation. “Feels like I’ve been waiting for a lifetime/ To find someone that I’ll want as much as I want you/ Right now,” she wails.
“Late Nights & Early Mornings”
The album’s title track, produced by Rich Harrison (Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love,” Amerie’s “1 Thing”), is surprisingly restrained given the beatsmith’s frenzied production past. Easing into the song with a disorienting melody, the mid-tempo ballad features off-kilter synths and gurgling drums, with Marsha crowing about getting some extra loving in the heat of the night. “It’s going to be a late night ’til the early morning/ When I come on home/ It’s going to be that good love, gave you what you wanted/ I want to do it all night long,” she teases on the Prince-inspired tune.
Lauryn Hill wrote and recorded this as an energetic inclusion on the soundtrack to the 2007 animated feature Surf’s Up, and Marsha completely reconfigures the track to suit an R&B template. Cutting away the heavy percussion and synthesizers of Ms. Hill’s version, Marsh puts her heart into this neo-soul remake, driven by languid percussion, a light organ, and thick vocal harmonies.
Marsha gets into the Motown swing on “Tears,” where she sings the blues about regretting her decision to dump her boyfriend. “First of all let me say that I missed you baby, for real/ I’m worse off than I’ve been, I feel so much pain/ Cried so many tears,” sings Marsha, her voice quavering against echoing harmonies as she begs her man to come back into her arms.
Marsha originally penned this track for Michael Jackson’s 2001 album Invincible, later rerecording it with her group Floetry for 2002’s Floetic. Almost a decade later, she revamps the innocent ballad with the addition of popping drums, blurting horns, and glib synthesizers. The upbeat remix also features rerecorded vocals and an alternate ending, closing the album with a dash of something familiar for those who have kept up with this soaring songbird.