For just about a decade now, Cleveland-based singer-songwriter Conya Doss has built a respectable career in the music industry, despite choosing to self-release her music, thus remaining largely apart from the mainstream R&B/Soul music world. But if she's yearning to cross over, it's definitely not apparent on her sixth studio album, A Pocketful of Purpose. The album, which was released in the U.S. April 24, 2012, happily goes against the grain of the overly cliched, trendy and superficial direction of much of what modern R&B has to offer. This is a deep, rich collection of mature urban contemporary songs that's as personal and insightful as a diary set to music.
Her Own Terms
Being an indie artist means you're not beholden to a label and are free to make the music you want on your own terms and that's something that Conya Doss has definitely done throughout her career, beginning with her 2002 debut album, A Poem About Ms. Doss
. A Pocketful of Purpose
continues that tradition, but that's not to say there aren't any radio-friendly songs. Perhaps the best of the bunch is "What About You and Me?,"
a duet between Conya and Chris McNeal about longtime friends who admit that they have romantic feelings for one another. It's a romantic song that manages to be sweet without becoming sappy. Another winner is the album's first single, "Don't Change,"
where Conya vocalizes how she loves her man despite -- or maybe because of -- his various imperfections. And on "Letter,"
which is essentially a verbal note to her son Landon, she tells him how much she cares for him: "You gave my life new meaning, because of you my happiness has no ending/I hope someday you experience this kind of love, that I feel for nobody but you," she sings. "I wrote this letter because I love you."
But for all the album's heights in the lyrical and vocal departments, it does have it's share of flaws, as well. The most glaring of which is the pedestrian song production. Listening to A Pocketful of Purpose is like sitting in a rowboat on a placid lake enjoying some beautiful scenery. Although the landscape may be great for awhile, it ultimately starts to get boring. And the lack of musical variety here does get old after awhile. This is a collection of a dozen solid mid-tempo jazz-influenced R&B/Soul tracks that has very little in the way of diversity in tone or tempo. And no matter how deeply personal the lyrics may be, it can be a little tough to keep your attention from wandering elsewhere during the last few tracks.
Disclosure: A review copy of the CD was provided by the artist. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy