All I Have (album)
|All I Have|
|Studio album by Amerie|
|Released||July 30, 2002|
Japanese edition cover
|Singles from All I Have|
All I Have is the debut studio album by American R&B recording artist Amerie. It was released on July 30, 2002 through Columbia Records, Rise Entertainment and Richcraft Records. Entirely produced by Rich Harrison, the album was recorded at Cue Recording Studios in Falls Church, Virginia and at Lobo Studios and The Hit Factory in New York City, New York. The album debuted and peaked at number nine on the US Billboard 200 chart in August 2002, remaining in the top twenty for two weeks only and dropping off the top hundred in its fourteenth week. It also received generally mixed reviews from the music critics. Nevertheless, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling over 500,000 copies on October 3, 2003, and won Amerie a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist in 2003. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the album has sold over 661,000 copies in the United States as of July 2009. All I Have produced two singles: "Why Don't We Fall in Love" (which peaked at number twenty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100) and a minor hit "Talkin' to Me".
While studying at Georgetown, Amerie befriended a Washington, D.C. club promoter who eventually put her in touch with producer Rich Harrison. During an interview with Maxim, Amerie said she met up with Harrison at a McDonald's parking lot, and performed a song for him in her car. Rich Harrison—who had just worked on Mary J. Blige's albums Mary and No More Drama—began making/developing demos with Amerie. This led to her first record deal with Harrison's Richcraft Entertainment, in collaboration with Columbia Records. According to Amerie, she and Harrison immediately hit it off. In a 2002 interview, she commented "For some reason we had a very special chemistry. When we would work together something great would happen." Amerie recorded the chorus for the 2001 single "Rule", performed by Nas. The single peaked at number 67 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart in the United States. She also recorded a song with Detroit rapper Royce da 5'9", titled "Life", the third and final single from his Rock City (Version 2.0) album.
Release and promotion
All I Have was first released in United States, for CD and vinyl LP, on July 30, 2002, through Columbia Records, Rise Entertainment and Richcraft Records. It was released on August 5, 2002 in Europe through Sony Music Entertainment. It was also released in Japan, on November 20, 2002, through Sony Music Entertainment Japan.
In April 2002, Amerie's debut single, "Why Don't We Fall in Love", was released, peaking at number twenty-three on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming a top ten hit on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Dance Club Play charts. The song was an urban top twenty hit in Australia and reached the top forty in the United Kingdom. To promote the album, Amerie went on tour with Usher and Nas, traveling on Usher's Evolution 8701 Tour in 2002. Amerie also promoted the album by touring with rapper Nelly, performing on twelve dates while on the tour. The second and final single from All I Have was "Talkin' to Me", a top twenty entry on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, although it peaked outside the top foty on the Billboard Hot 100.
|The Boston Globe||mixed|
All I Have received generally mixed reviews from music critics. William Ruhlmann of AllMusic gave the album the grade of two and a half out of five stars, stating: "The debut album by 22-year-old Amerie is basically a showcase for writer/producer Rich Harrison, who constructs a series of mid-tempo rhythm tracks and writes lyrics of romantic longing. Harrison's lack of originality is suggested by his inability even to come up with new song titles. Among the tracks here are newly written songs entitled "Need You Tonight" "Got to Be There" and even "I Just Died" (that's right, "in your arms"). Amerie has a pleasant-enough voice that she uses to express a tempered fervor and a degree of eroticism, but she seems to be just another modestly talented performer chosen mostly for her looks; record companies seem to be on an endless search for attractive young women of mixed racial heritage (apparently in hopes of demographic crossover) who can carry a tune, and this willing Georgetown graduate with a Korean mother and African-American father is just the latest in a long line. None of which is to say that she won't succeed (record companies make a lot of money taking such bets), but at least on the basis of her debut album, Amerie has nothing to recommend her beyond a fairly anonymous surface appeal." Vanessa E. Jones of The Boston Globe gave a mixed review, stating: Amerie's almond eyes come courtesy of her Korean mother, while her caramel skin was inherited from her African-American dad. On her debut CD, All I Have, she proves that the melange makes a soulful combination. If there was a representative sound of the summer this year, it should have been the singer's shimmering single, "Why Don't We Fall in Love". With jazzy horns and romantic strings caressed by Amerie's strong, yearning alto, the song brought to mind beach holidays and summer fun every time it came on the air. Amerie follows up that effort with a 12-song CD with several distinctive cuts. It would be a great debut if it weren't for all the filler, and for lyrics (written by the CD's producer Rich Harrison) that revolve around the tired subjects of love, betrayal, and hate. When Amerie fails to follow her instincts, the results can be disastrous. "Float", for instance, finds her relying on histrionic yelling rather than crooning. But this is definitely a talent to watch, as the songs "Can't Let Go", "Talkin' to Me", "Got to Be There" and "Why Don't We Fall in Love" show." Sarah Rodman of Boston Herald gave the album positive review with the grade of three out of four stars, stating: "This 22-year-old Georgetown grad may be blessed with a lovely, flinty voice and great looks, but even she must have been shocked when her debut album, All I Have, made a Top 5 debut in Billboard. Amerie's music is two parts intriguing (a strong yet sultry R&B growl matched with the off-kilter hip-hop grooves of producer Rich Harrison) and one part run-of-the-mill (banal romance lyrics). There are tunes about Mr. Right, Mr. Right Now and Mr. Wrong. Amerie scores extra points for keeping things short, sweet and free from gratuitous vocal acrobatics. She stands out from the female R&B pack without resorting to affectation or gimmickry." Steve Jones of USA Today gave the album two and a half out of four stars, stating: "On her strings-laced hit single, "Why Don't We Fall in Love", 22-year-old Amerie shows a talent for subtlety and nuance not often heard from a debut singer. The sultry vocalist lets the intensity build rather than relying on over-the-top flourishes. She shows her versatility with the jazzy "Nothing Like Loving You", the edgy "I Just Died" and the infectious "Talkin' to Me". While the material is not consistently strong, it serves as a nice introduction to a singer with great potential for growth." Felicia Pride from PopMatters gave a mixed review, stating: "I like Amerie. Not that she has much of an image, but she still seems like such a sweet and positive young woman. A Georgetown graduate, her humbleness exudes in interviews as she basks in her childhood dream with the giddiness of a schoolgirl. When her first single exploded, the world was introduced to her sitting on a park bench singing wholeheartedly those rhetorical words, "Why don’t we fall in love?" The hip-hop track with the defined R&B voice, championed upon the winning chemistry mastered by the likes of Mary J. Blige and Faith Evans. Naturally the anticipation was bubbling for her forthcoming All I Have. Even with all her charming characteristics, the brains, the voice and the looks, her debut is, well, boring. As I listened to the 12 tracks (11 if you dismiss the outro), I strained to find some spice, some personality. The tracks run into each other to the point that they become one very long song. The singular topic of love and relationships heightens its monotony, as does her lack of serious vocal experimentation. If you thought she sounded a little flat on "Why Don’t We Fall in Love", prepare yourself for a few more out of range notes. The album is by no means Pretty Girl Who Can't Sing revisited. It is worth the space in your CD collection, and has some bright moments. In terms of mood, it’s very laid-back, with a rainy day or I-just-fell-in-love vibe, and one you can listen to at work. I must warn that you have already heard the most animated track on the album and probably more times than you would’ve liked as her first single was definitely killed by the radio. Her second single, "Talkin’ to Me" is cute, and a little catchy, but a little personality deficient. The songs that really carry the album are "I Just Died" and "Show Me". Both are quiet storm ballads in which her vocals are richer, not as forced (quieter) and dance hand-in-hand with sexy hooks that allow the track to take the lead. The title track "All I Have" would have made a better second single as it shows the potential that Amerie has to explore the love ballad, the real meat and potatoes of the album. Props should go to Rich Harrison who is largely responsible for this project. He performed all the instruments, and wrote and produced all the songs except the outro. Besides being crazy talented, he is certainly a man in tune with his emotions, writing highly sensitive and female-perceptive lyrics perfect for any R&B diva. His tracks are simple yet artful and truly designed to let the singer define them. Unfortunately, this was not a consistent trend on All I Have because Amerie’s vocals were not always compelling enough to fittingly dominate the track. There were times when all was lost. For her first run, it might have been in the label’s best interest to employ a few hit makers. You know the ones that can make a hit for anyone despite their vocal capability. Not saying that Amerie is without, it just might have added a little pizzazz if she would have joined the Jermaine Dupri or even Darkchild roster list. But maybe that is what remixes are for. In her bio, Amerie proudly (as she should be) describes her debut, "The music and lyrics really put you into a zone. When Rich Harrison and I began creating the record, we knew that fusing beautiful melodies with hard, hip-hop beats would move people. I think we’ve accomplished that." I only wish. Well maybe next time—and hopefully there will be another time. Her debut was respectable, simple and unpretentious. The ingredients are there, she just needs to perfect the mix."
The album debuted and peaked at number nine on the US Billboard 200 chart in August 2002, remaining in the top twenty for two weeks only and dropping off the top one hundred in its fourteenth week. Nevertheless, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America on October 3, 2003, and earned Amerie a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist in 2003. According to Nielsen SoundScan, as of July 2009, the album has sold 661,000 copies in the United States. It peaked at number one on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart by Billboard. It was also minor success in Japan, peaking at number 181 on the Oricon albums chart.
All tracks written by Rich Harrison except where indicated. Also, all tracks were produced by Harrison.
|All I Have – Standard edition|
|1.||"Why Don't We Fall in Love"||2:39|
|2.||"Talkin' to Me"||3:54|
|3.||"Nothing Like Loving You"||3:51|
|4.||"Can't Let Go"||4:21|
|5.||"Need You Tonight"||3:49|
|6.||"Got to Be There"||3:01|
|7.||"I Just Died"||3:29|
|8.||"Hatin' on You"||3:57|
|11.||"All I Have"||4:08|
|All I Have – Japanese edition (bonus tracks)|
|13.||"Just What I Needed to See"||3:15|
|14.||"Why Don't We Fall in Love" (Main Mix featuring Ludacris)||3:30|
|15.||"Why Don't We Fall in Love" (Richcraft Remix)||3:36|
- Sample credits
- "Why Don't We Fall in Love" and its remixes contain a sample of "Condor! (Theme)/I Got You Where I Want You", as performed by Dave Grusin from the soundtrack to the 1975 film Three Days of the Condor
- "Need You Tonight" contains a sample of "Synthesizers Dance", as performed by Miroslav Vitouš from the 1976 album Magical Shepherd
- "Got to Be There" contains a sample of "From the Beginning", as performed by Emerson, Lake & Palmer from their 1972 album Trilogy
Credits for All I Have adapted from liner notes.
- Drum programming, keyboards, synthesizers: Rich Harrison
- Recording engineers: Jose Sanchez, Ken Schubert, Rich Harrison, Peter Wade, Nichole Cartwright
- Pro-Tools editing: Jose Sanchez, Ken Schubert, Peter Wade
- Mixing: Tony Maserati, Axel Niehaus, Angela Piva, Flip Osman, Pat Woodward
- Executive producers: Daryl Williams, Rich Harrison, Cory Rooney
- Co-executive producers: Jeff Burroughs, Ed Holmes
- Photography: Jonathan Mannion
- Art direction and design: Ron Jaramillo
|Japanese Albums (Oricon)||181|
|US Billboard 200||9|
|US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)||1|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||661,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|United States||July 30, 2002||
|Europe||August 5, 2002||CD||Sony Music||5089732|||
|Japan||November 20, 2002||SICP 283|||
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