DES'REE is a 23-year-old South Londoner who, armed with her acoustic guitar, usually provokes the label 'Tracy Chapman copyist'. Her ballads have obvious folk roots - as her January hit 'Feel So High' showed - but she's as much influenced by the urban gloss of Anita Baker as by retro- hippydom, and has an attitude to match. She can dance, too. A Norwood convent education and three years in rather traditional Barbados have given her plenty to write about, most of it on a spiritual tip. Her album Mind Adventures came out in February on Sony.
NU COLOURS are a gospel quintet intending to cross over into the soul scene without giving up singing in church. Backed with an R&B band, they displayed their brand of inspirational choral soul with a cover of Frankie Knuckles' house track 'So Many Tears', released last May. Their debut album, Unlimited (Wildcard / Polydor), comes out in January. They carry the approval of Stevie Wonder, who attended a London club date in June.
Things are going better for OMAR, long-hailed as the future sound of British soul - he's got a new convertible Saab. His first album, There's Nothing Like This, came out on the obscure Kongo Dance label, and when Phonogram took over, they insisted on re-releasing it, instead of letting it rest as 'one for the connoisseurs' and getting on with the next. The next, called Music, is even better, and comes out in October. It features plenty of harmonies (all in his own voice), plus Omar on keyboards, drums, cornet and bass. At his live shows he somehow manages to re-create his sublime vocal techniques.