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Overlooked in 2017: Sevyn Streeter’s ‘Girl Disrupted’ was a long time coming for the singer-songwriter

It was the album that many fans of Sevyn Streeter thought might never happen, and the singer didn’t either.

Nearly 15 years into a career that included stints in two short-lived groups, writing credits for R&B pop stars like Ariana Grande, Chris Brown, Brandy, Kelly Rowland, Alicia Keys, Tamar Braxton and Fantasia Barrino and two well-received EPs, Streeter was ready for the world to hear her debut album.

She had everything an upstart could ask for — the backing of a major label, a sturdy fan base, countless industry co-signs, a platinum radio hit and a Grammy — yet Streeter kept finding the project stalled while she navigated some heavy personal and professional hurdles.

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As the old adage goes, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned — and “Girl Disrupted,” the singer’s resulting project, is proof of that.“I lost a fight with my heart, I lost my way in the dark. … But look at me now,” she sings on the album’s raw opener, “Livin’,” a track that details the depression that once suffocated the singer.

Like her earlier EPs, “Girl Disrupted” updates the sweet era of ’90s R&B when strong female voices such as TLC, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, SWV and Brandy balanced lush, soulful harmonies with swaggering, hip-hop-dipped edge.

Love, loyalty and liberation are a central thread of the album.

Woozy bangers from The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, Hitmaka, Bangladesh and Cam Wallace were made for moving bodies, especially songs that reimagine retro R&B hits from Faith Evans, SWV and New Edition into sultry new grooves.

But the album hits its highest notes when Streeter is focused on tender, revelatory moments.

Bedroom grooves like “Been a Minute,” “My Love for You” and the risque “Peace Sign” are breathy, seductive delights, while “How Many” is a scathing tongue-lashing from Beyoncé’s school of “Lemonade.”

If you only check out one track from the record, let that be the Stereotypes-produced, “Before I Do.” It’s a lush groove that recalls the timeless love ballads of Whitney Houston and is one of the year’s finest R&B jams.

gerrick.kennedy@latimes.com


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