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losing ones heart to

Heart to Yours

Heart to Yours is the solo debut album by American singer Michelle Williams released on April 16 2002 via Sanctuary and Columbia Records. With lyrics attesting to a relationship to God, the album features tributes to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

Although the album received mixed reviews from critics, it peaked at number one on the Billboard Gospel charts with nearly 20,000 copies sold in one week, becoming 2002's biggest selling album of the that genre in the U.S.

Background and production

In late 2000, while recording their third album, Survivor, Destiny's Child already revealed that they would produce solo albums, although no signed deals took place yet. After the release of Survivor, the group announced in late 2001 a temporary break-up to focus on solo projects, including working on their own albums. Right before they went on their respective solo projects, the group released a holiday album, 8 Days of Christmas.

Williams found working in the studio with several musical collaborators, including Damon Elliott, Warren Campbell and gospel producer HR Crump. Williams' brother, Erron Williams, also produced some of the track in the album. Williams also co-wrote five of the songs.

Content

Generally, the album features gospel music, with lyrics that are inspirational about building relationship with God. The opening track and lead single of the album, "Heard a Word", sums up the theme of the album, with its chorus: "I heard a word/ Saying you'll be fine/ I heard a word that would ease my troubled mind/ Took all the hurt away/ Warmed me up inside like a summer day/ So glad you'd never break your promises." Other songs are tributes to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States: "Heart to Yours" and "Better Place" were inspired by the catastrophic event, while the latter is also an emotional tribute to those who lost loved ones who died in the attack.

The album also features guest vocals by various artist. Destiny's Child band mates appear in "Gospel Medley", a song originally produced for their 2001 album, Survivor. Other guest include Carl Thomas on the new version of BeBe & CeCe Winans' "Heaven", a bonus track of the album; Men of Standard's Isaac Carree and Lowell C. Pye on "You Care for Me"; Mary Mary on "So Glad"; and Shirley Caesar on "Steal Away to Jesus", a ballad which was included on the release of Caesar's 2001 album, Hymns.

Release

While her musical cohorts were taking their projects to wrap up, Williams' management strategically planned a successive release of their albums to avoid "rival" on the charts. With span of one year, Williams eventually released Heart to Yours on April 16, 2002 in the United States, ahead of Kelly Rowland's 2002 album, Simply Deep, and Beyoncé Knowles' 2003 Dangerously in Love, all debut releases.

Critical reviews

Heart to Yours received mixed reviews from critics. Tracy Hopkins of the Rolling Stone magazine said that despite Williams' collaborations with contemporary gospel singers, "only reinforce the thin-piped vocalist's shortcomings". Hopkins wrote that although Williams "is in the right place", her vocals are "too quiet" and the production is too "tame to start a real Holy Ghost party". While the latter was making Williams' voice as her subject, William Ruhlmann of Allmusic commented that the singer "has transformed herself from kitten to tiger, belting out the words with absolute conviction". Ruhlmann complimented the non-hasty production of the album, supporting that its because "there are different producers on nearly every track, and the arrangements for the most part are state-of-the-art urban contemporary efforts".

Commercial reception

Although Heart to Yours failed to dominate the U.S. Billboard 200, it gained success on Billboard components charts. The album debuted on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart at number one. With combined chart success after peaking at number three on the Billboard Top Contemporary Christian Albums, Heart to Yours became 2002's top-selling album. On the main album chart in the U.S., the Billboard 200, the album reached number fifty-seven on May 4, 2002. According to The New York Times, Heart to Yours sold 203,622 domestically.

Track listing

# Title
1. "Heart to Yours" Written by: Michelle Williams/Williams/Parker/Washington 3:54
2. "Heard a Word" Written by: M. Williams/Brown/Parker 4:56
3. "So Glad" (duet w/ Mary Mary) Written by: Erica Campbell/Tina Campbell/Warryn Campbell/Santacruz 3:54
4. "Sun Will Shine Again" Written by: Parker 4:18
5. "Better Place (9.11)" Written by: M. Williams/Elliott/Parker 3:01
6. "Change the World" Written by: Brown/Crump 3:59
7. "Everything" Written by: M. Williams/Crump/Parker/Williams 3:33
8. "You Care for Me" (featuring Isaac Carree & Lowell Pye of Men of Standard) Written by: Crump 5:56
9. "Steal Away to Jesus" (duet w/ Shirley Caesar) Written by: Michelle Williams/Shirley Caesar 3:27
10. "Rock with Me" Written by: M. Williams/Parker 6:04
11. "Gospel Medley" (feat. Destiny's Child) Written by: B. Knowles/K. Franklin/Smallwood 3:26
12. "Heaven" (feat. Carl Thomas) (bonus track) Written by: Thomas/Winans 3:07
13. "Steal Away to Jesus (Remix)" (duet w/ Shirley Caesar) (Japan bonus track) 3:52

Credits

  • Executive producers: Mathew Knowles
  • Producer: Scott Shavoni Parker, Buster, Warryn Campbell, Shirley Caesar, H.R. Crump, Damon Elliott, Luther "Mano" Hanes, Paul Hemphill, Michael E. Mathis, Kayla Parker, Bubba Smith, Erron Williams
  • Vocal producer: H.R. Crump, Kayla Parker
  • Vocal assistance: Lisa Butts, Isaac Carree, Gene Conyers, Damon Elliott, Donald Gore, Kayla Parker, Lowell Pye
  • Engineers: Wayne Allison, Rich Balmer,Shavoni, Buster, Cedric Courtois, Larry Sturm, Peter Thyssen, Dan Workman
  • Mixing: Buster, Thor Laewe, Kevin Parker, Larry Sturm
  • A&R: Kim Burse, Alvin Williams
  • Art Direction: Ian Cuttler, Kris Feldman
  • Design: Frank Carbonari, Ian Cuttler
  • Photography: Christopher Kolk

References

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