Danii Roundtree is a three, four, five trick stallion (pony doesn’t do her talent justice). She was lured to the lights and never left the stage as she competed and won the title of Miss New York USA in 2008, continued on to be a semi-finalist on Fox’s American Idol during its eighth season, and was featured in Broadway’s Rising Stars 2 acclaimed concert series. Add to that list of accomplishments the many credits she’s racked up in the hit Broadway productions Motown the Musical, Porgy & Bess, and RAGTIME. I won’t waste time hashing out any more items on her CV, I’ll simply tell you this: Dani Roundtree has a winning voice, the kind you want to glide an old record needle over, the kind you open living room windows for on a Saturday afternoon while you sit on the porch drinking a sweet, punchy tea.
Her online cover art casts a kitschy Betty Boop / Lucille Ball doll face to a name, but even stronger imagery is channeled once her vocals drop. I heard the influences of Martha and the Vandellas, The Supremes, and other associated hair groups of the 60s through the speaker as I listened to “Crave,” the first release off her debut album Memoirs, which the singer plans to release in summer 2017. Her smoky, creamy tone bounces gently off the swing beat of the song and really throws back to a memory lane type of love song.
The rest of the album has a vaudevilley, Josephine Baker-has-dinner-with-Amy-Winehouse feel that I sincerely appreciate for the sheer fact that they were two empowered women who left their marks on the world. The jazz horn and piano rises and falls comfortably within the pocket during the intro track “My Man.” Danii and her band should look into linking up with the Postmodern Jukebox series, she would fit right into their style. I love big band music. I love dancing. When I turn Memoirs up, I can’t help but to cut a rug, especially with “Juke Box Boogie.” There are so many fantastic tracks on the album, you just have to listen for yourself. “Blue Eyes” is a tropical-scented sunrise luring me towards a copacabana paradise, and “Dysfunkshunull Love” is the dark, moody morning after. I really hope she puts Memoirs on vinyl because it definitely deserves to be played as a collectable work of art.
Keep your ear to the streets for Memoirs this summer.