Former America’s Got Talent contestant Emily West was destined for big things after finishing up her tenure on the show. Armed with a soulful voice, bombshell beauty, and compelling arrangements, West earned herself the nickname “The Sultry Songstress” from judges and fans alike. After finishing as runner up on the show West has continued forward with her music and is now releasing her debut album, All For You, on August 14. The album contains a collection of her most imaginative and successful covers alongside a handful of original material from the artist. All For You signifies a new step forward for Emily West as she moves into the next phase of her career.
All For You starts off with a familiar performance as West channels iconically blonde-bobbed Sia for a standout performance of “Chandelier.” West performed the track on America’s Got Talent to critical acclaim, and her studio rendition packs equal power and finesse. Few artists are able to keep pace with the soaring vocals Sia originally applied to the track; however, West flies above a gorgeous arrangement. Maybe it is a little less unhinged than Sia’s original party girl performance, but our Sultry Songstress attacks the song with passion and provides a wholly compelling take on the track.
Moving into another America’s Got Talent fan favorite, Emily West dazzles with a smooth performance of The Moody Blue’s “Nights In White Satin.” West’s voice resounds with longing, especially in the final moments as she proclaims her love one last time. The result is absolutely chill inducing, in a very good way!
Although revisiting some of West’s best moments from her stint on national television is welcome, All For You’s original material offers a significantly more telling look into the artist’s personal aesthetic. Lead single “Bitter” picks things up a bit as the powerfully voiced siren sings about fighting for the right to make her own decisions. Never has the concept of being bitter been more welcome than after hearing Emily West fight to move on from a lover and rediscover the world around her. West proceeds to exchange EDM stylings for a lush orchestral production as she moves into a surprise gospel-inspired cover of Usher and David Guetta’s smash hit “Without You.” In her hands, the track becomes an honest ballad filled with rushing emotion and heavenly runs.
Emily West takes a trip back to the song that started it all on All For You as she performs a cover of her America’s Got Talent audition song, a performance of Phil Phillips “Sea Of Love.” Placed amongst the other soaring performances, the simpler version feels a little lost in the mix with its stripped back aesthetic at first listen. Further listens open the track up and provide an interesting look into the evolution of Emily West’s sound and aesthetic. West strips things back significantly as she moves into an original and angelic ballad titled “Glorianna.” The track features lyrics written by West and her friend and frequent collaborator, K.S. Rhoads. The glorious lyrics are sung with the utmost passion, and West’s vocals absolutely soar as she allows them to rise in praise.
“Battles” is another effort from Rhoads’ and West’s writing sessions, though this performance takes on a significantly more folk-inspired sound. On the track, West declares that “everyone is fighting a battle,” chiding against judging others for things that we don’t understand. A powerful rendition of Roy Orbison’s “You Got It” drips with warmth and encouragement in West’s capable hands. A more upbeat production drives her vocals and elevates the song so that it stands out from the collection. A positive message continues as West moves into one of her favorite covers of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” that features vocals from Lauper herself. West has referred to Lauper as her “hero” for the positivity that she exudes, and she has expressed a desire to share a similar message. As her full voice promises that “your true colors are beautiful like a rainbow,” it is easily possible to imagine the positive effect that she will have on listeners.
Emily West closes out All For You with her final original effort, “Falling,” in which she claims that she is channeling Billie Holiday’s unique method of attacking a song. Adding a level of crackle and smoke to her vocals, West sings of the harsh realities of life with stark honesty. West’s vocals are a commanding presence as the track evolves and darkens before revealing that her lover is abusive. You can feel the pain and heartbreak in her voice as she growls several of the lines with ferocity for the hand she has been dealt in life, and Holiday’s instrumental performance methods are entirely evident throughout. Arguably one of the “realest” cuts to make it to All For You, West proves herself capable of singing about both beauty and pain in equal measures. You can download Emily West’s album on iTunes here.