Best Vocalist (Female) St. Louis 2004 - Sunyatta Marshall
Readers' Choice: Christine Brewer
Don't hate her because she's beautiful, or because she got the part in the Insurance Xpress commercial you also auditioned for. Among other things, love her for her voice, the timbre of which is so tightly, solidly wound you'll think you can reach out and grab the emotion she's pumping into the room. Like that of a Balkan chorister, Sunyatta Marshall's alto is a line drive that nails you squarely in the chest, knocking the wind out of you. And it should; the enchanting 27-year-old has been singing for a while. "My friend Ariel and I wrote our first songs together when I was twelve," Marshall reveals in a speaking voice that's no less direct than the pipe work she turns in with Fred's Variety Group. How does so much sound come from such a petite frame? We once wondered the same thing about Gary Coleman, and the answer remains as elusive as it was then.