Fort Wayne native Amanda Perez came from a large family full of musical talent. It's not surprising then that her own life, from her earliest memories to her current position as recording artist and part owner of the Powerhouse recording label, has been bathed in music. Not only has she learned a plethora of instruments and developed her voice into an intimidating tool but she also won the 1999 Junior Female Division of the Black Expo in Indianapolis as the only Latin performer. Her ability to quickly learn and play a variety of instruments is manifested on Where You At?, her debut album, where she played nearly every instrument and wrote every song. Recorded in Los Angeles, the thirteen tracks on the album showcase Perez's many abilities and incorporate her myriad styles. The album intro is a humorous skit that boasts the talents of Perez while slamming the big record companies. Other tracks explore rap (such as the explosive title track and "Get 'Em Hype"), gangsta rap ("Whoa")
and hip-hop ("No More"). To this sorry white cracker, though, she's at her best on the ballads and sultry slow numbers. The first single, "I Like It", is full of soulful singing against a sizzling beat. Lyrics such as "I like it when you lick right here / I like it when you touch right there / I like it when you run your fingers through my hair" leave little doubt as to the meaning of the songs. Perhaps the strongest track is "Never", a passionate ballad of unrequited love that allows Perez to really show off her well-developed voice and songwriting skills. Heavy on piano and strings, this song could easily make it either the pop or R&B charts. The final track, "Love Is Pain" finds Perez wondering "How could I have fell for someone so hard", accented by flowing Spanish guitar and soulful background vocals. Showing talent beyond her young years, Perez has created an album full of exciting songs that are sure to be the cornerstone of a long career.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, October 2001.