Even on a muddy-signal, three-way conference call between Cincinnati, Atlanta and London, it’s clear that modern Soul duo Nicole Wray and Terri Walker of Lady share an affirming bond.
Raised on opposite sides of the Atlantic (Wray grew up in Virginia and lives in Atlanta, while Walker is from London), their dialects call and respond like two talking drums. Wray grew up attending a close-knit southern Baptist church where she eventually connected to an experience beyond eating candy in Sunday school.
In London, Walker remembers growing up in an era when groups like Loose Ends and Soul II Soul created an international buzz and Northern Soul revivals were attended by all ages and races.
When they planned their self-titled debut, Lady felt the live instrumentation provided by their label's Truth & Soul co-founders Leon Michels and Jeff Silverman was so unfiltered and raw that it deserved honest songs. Ironically, the first song to make the album was called “Tell the Truth,” the first song they penned as a duo.
Throughout the album, Lady sings stories of life, love and pain, engaging differently on each, according to the track’s mood. Unlike the Pop hybrids of contemporary R&B that focus more on hedonism as a means of escape, Wray and Walker felt it was their duty to write music for the people dealing with everyday situations.
Lady performs 8 p.m. Saturday at 20th Century Theater with Lee Fields & the Expressions. Tickets are $16. the20thcenturytheatre.com.