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J'Dess excels on her debut, 'Ada' [Pulse EP Review]

It’s difficult to pick a best song on this impressive EP, but ‘Lee Nu’ might yet land J’Dess another Headies nomination.

J'Dess - Ada. (TBD)

J’Dess is a product of Nigerian talent shows. Her voice is calm as an ocean, tingling as a bell sensation and riveting as a tragedy. For many, the Headies-nominated ‘Chi Efo’ was their introduction to her. But it’s been over 18 months since that release dropped.

In Igbo, Ada refers to the first daughter of the family. With that position comes great expectation and responsibility. While the latter might be reduced for J’Dess in her music career, expectation is definitely at an all-time high. Especially after she got a nomination and performed at the last Headies.

According to her, the 8-track ‘Ada’ is a gift, born of a rollercoaster of emotions and perseverance, and even fear. It’s also “an embodiment of love and hope, a picture of life [as she imagines and pictures it]; a sound of joy…

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Coasting between English, a little pidgin and English with wild dexterity, J’Dess is supported by an impressive set of production. Her message is filled with copious amounts of love, expressed in ounces of mixed themes and subplots.

While ‘Away,’ ‘Show Me’ and ‘Ginger Me’ are based on tentative and positive takes on love and romance, which sometimes sees J’Dess embody a character who demands her preferred brand of love, ‘Chi Efo’ is a personal tale of growth and opportunism. In English, ‘Chi Efo’ means a new dawn.

J’Dess is as inspirational and empirically driven as she is on ‘Life,’ but without any cases in point. While J’Dess songwriting doesn’t seem especially packed with words, J’Dess chooses moments like ‘Chi Efo’ and ‘Life’ to deliver her best bits of packed songwriting. But even when her songwriting isn’t as dense, it still serves its intended commercial purpose.

Overall, the best thing about ‘Ada EP’ is how J’Dess manages to make music on a lot of danceable beats, while making the music remain in the R&B/Soul/Quiet Storm realm, even when she does Highlife on ‘Show Me.’

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It’s difficult to pick a best song on this impressive EP, but ‘Lee Nu’ might yet land J’Dess another Headies nomination. While ‘Show Me’ is a timely show of J’Dess versatility and adaptability to different genres, it might have been better served on her sophomore EP.

To some, the record might create an unnecessary expectation of versatility for J’Dess. To some others, it might also seem out of place. When J'Dess spoke about 'Ada EP' on her announcement, it feels like the EP was inspired by a fundamental nexus.

But it just feels like a showcase of J'Dess' artistry on a string of different records, rather than a seven records tied together by a concept or an identity. One might even argue that all seven records are different, and that makes it difficult to pinpoint whether these records tie back to J'Dess in any way.

Anyway, take a bow, J’Dess. This is super-impressive.

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