ALISON CROCKETT at Supermarket (268 Augusta), Saturday (April 23). $10. 416-972-1105. Rating: NNNNN
While Alison Crockett speaks over the phone from her place in Brooklyn, a medley of domestic sounds points to the fact that the R&B artist is also a family woman.
As she (wholesomely) chops veggies and flips pancakes while her husband tries to get their 14-month-old baby to nap, you can't help but think, is this the same person I just heard in rapture singing, "I'm gonna come, I'm gonna come, I'm gonna come" on her album?
"I was going through an interesting period of ultra-woman sex songs," says Crockett about the more orgasmic material on her thrilling debut record, On Becoming A Woman.
"Actually," laughs the singer, whose potent voice-box has been installed on various King Britt and John Wicks soul structures and who is the lead singer of Us3, "I was working with a lot of kids at the time, and when I took breaks this is what came to me. I didn't try - that's just what happened."
Crockett speaks of herself as an artist whose ideas come to her from the celestial wireless, words and music forming in her mind at the same time. Add to this her ability to workshop new jams onstage at regular live gigs, and the result is an album organically made but refined.
No wonder the record blew up when it hit Japan almost two years ago. With its innovative arrangements, cutting-edge production, highly personal words and delivery, the record has been trickling our way since.
Crafting On Becoming A Woman wasn't all rainbows, candy apples and smiles. The record was shaped by her brother, producer and multi-instrumentalist Terry Crockett, who expected nothing less than perfection from sis.
"My brother is a pretty hard taskmaster. And he's pretty specific about certain things," says Crockett. "But since we have the same musical talents - we grew up with the same kinds of influences - we speak the same language really quick. We can get things done relatively quickly with a minimum of talking."
It was with this spirit that the Crocketts developed what Alison calls her signature song, Nappy, which speaks of the singer's reconciliation with her own appearance.
"When my hair was straight, I felt I wasn't pretty," she says. "That's exactly the truth. I felt that my features were not symmetrical, or they just didn't work. But when I decided to go completely natural, I felt like 'Oh! So this is what I'm supposed to look like. '"