#MusicReview Dear Future Me by James Fortune | @MrJamesFortune
It took six months into a relatively dried up 2017 but we finally got a release that’s ‘da business’ by composer, director and prolific recording artist, James Fortune. This Houston-native has dropped an infinitely personal, artistically commendable album curiously called, Dear Future Me.
This delightful disc that features fabulous cover art, also offers twelve, tightly produced, brand-spanking new tracks. After a self-imposed hiatus, it was important to achieve two very important goal with the release of Dear Future Me…reestablish Fortune as a formidable, forerunner in Gospel music…declare James as a contrite and converted man.
Many know of the well-documented calamities Fortune underwent in recent years. With the return of Fortune to the public domain, many wondered if the mishaps and misbehavior would yield a better or bruised man. Over the course of this crazy, new album, we get all our answers and much more.
The project starts, not with a bang, but rather with a sober soliloquy by James Fortune, as he pens his faults and hazy future to paper. The pressure is on !!!
We get our first GO at it on Dear Future Me, a slow, scintillating track that beats like a pulsating heart. James speaks life into his imminent future, filled with hope, heartache and heavy expectation…the struggle is real y’all…at least for Fortune. The sound is a progressive leap into Urban Pop from the progressive, pioneering James Fortune at the helm. The single certainly sets up an album off to a super start.
On It Gets Better, we have a head-boppin’, finger-snappin’ jubilant joint. This feel-good groove gets points for its positivity. It’s a summer smoothy that will have you rolling down the car windows, as you sing along with FIYA. Just remember, ‘It will get better’. On the opposite end of the spector, I Forgive Me is in the mold of his mega hit, I Trust You, a stirring, tear-jerkerdesigned to set one free from guilt and regret. This is classic Fortune flexin’ his musical muscle with a style that will stir to the bone. James knows how to hammer the immortal message of forgiveness through cadence and chorus.
Things get real interesting on Favor Of God. Fortune shows he can still have some fun in-the-Spirit and in the studio, as he goes full tilt on this jam that’s got loads of juice. We get a well deserved reprieve from the melancholy, on this funky throwback with help from big-time tenor, Zacardi Cortez carrying the solo. The track’s got the band and FIYA in a tussle, tearin’ it up with every lick and lyric. Even on the Reprise, Fortune and FIYA are having all kinds of fun on this 90s-style jam from the school of Parliament. The band is boss on this number.
James pulls no punches, as he saves one of his more memorable and melodic tunes – You Rescued Me – for the ‘Princess Of Praise’, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard. The heavenly hymn rises like a helium balloon, elevating your spirit to new heights of adoration for the Savior. On Expectation, Fortune shows a cool, comfort level for Caribbean riddims. This deliberate dance number works well with World music fans, expecting more than the some-ole, same-ole. James bring an unbridled energy that’s infectious, resulting in an emotive balance to the breakthrough album.
On I Wouldn’t Love Me, the artist holds court with Christ about the unconditional, unmerited love God shows His children. With the band and FIYA forcing the issue, Kierra Sheard really shines through, leaving the listener with an euphoric end you won’t soon forget. Speaking of not forgetting…James rants on Here2Here, a rich, rhythmic exchange between James and Jesus, on where he stands in spite of it all. Fortune takes big tablespoons of the truth serum, as he opens up without saying much…it’s a harrowing bit of monolog put to music by a man who’s still in recover mode.
The album ends on a beautiful but bitter-sweet song called I’m Healed By The Blood a solid hymn stripped of top-tier production, resting on harrowing harmonies led by the versatile Joseph ‘Jo-Jo’ Clarke and a proficient pianist that nearly outperforms the vocals. It’s the perfect benediction to a musical diary penned and produced by James Fortune. Over the course of a dozen songs, we hear remorse, repentance and the rebirth of a man. Indeed, Dear Future Me, seems to spell a bright and blessed future for James Fortune.