»Madame Willis had to put her shoulder to the wheel in order to recreate the success of her first record.« This or similar statements were to be read all over the music press these days. What I’m asking myself is: Would the debut album have been as successful if President Obama hadn’t used one of the songs for his campaign? Or if Gilles Peterson hadn’t nominated one of the album’s singles as the best song of the year? Of course, those gestures were all mere proof of the extraordinary quality of the 2006-record by the name of »Keep Reaching Up«. Still, it doesn’t lead to the conclusion that a less good record would be measurable by the absence of these praises and laurels. There is no category, anyway, that could beat the above mentioned. Even if we were to explore another inhabited planet in the far away future, and even if the most wanted music-critic of that planet was to choose Nicole Willis to be “Songwriter of the Year“, it would still be more than suspicious if her songs were to be used for the campaign of Mr. Universe. Either way: the question of whether music is good or ban can’t be measured in terms of sales-numbers or the amount of pocketed trophies. Those are only giving us ideas about the amount of money used for the advertising. However, what does say something about the content is the very productive Power House signing responsible for this record. The raw sound of producer Didier Selin, the straight compositions of The Soul Investigators, and finally the talent of the front lady, who is willing to turn her most inner side out. Soul is only good, when taking a fearless and earnest look at one’s inner-self in order to share the impressions with the outside world. Nicole wants to do that, knows how to do it and does it once again.