By MESFIN FEKADU – Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — The kids are all right — at least in the music industry.
Take Justin Bieber: He’s 17, has released three platinum efforts, earned Grammy nominations, released a top-selling movie and has sold out arenas around the world, putting him in the elite echelon of pop superstars.
But Bieber isn’t the only young singer blazing the charts and outdoing his elders. Scotty McCreery was crowned “American Idol” champion this year and last month, the now 18-year-old became the youngest male to have his debut album open at No. 1 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart.
DIONNE BROMFIELD – 15
What Dionne Bromfield learned from her godmother — the late Amy Winehouse — was to write her own songs.
But Bromfield was only 12 when she started to work on her first album.
“There would have been nothing to write about apart from getting on the bus and going to school,” she said, adding with a laugh: “Pretty boring.”
Her 2009 debut, “Introducing Dionne Bromfield,” was full of Motown covers like “Mama Said” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Bromfield says growing up, her mother always played soul records and that she’s mainly inspired by Aretha Franklin.
“Marvin Gaye is like one of my favorite Motown singers and I remember going in school once like, ‘Have you heard of Marvin Gaye?’ And everyone was like, ‘Who’s that? What about Britney Spears? What about Christina Aguilera?'” she recalled. “And I remember ‘Ain’t No Mountain’ — someone actually thought I wrote that song!”
Now, Bromfield has released an album full of songs she mostly co-wrote. She described the recording of “Good for the Soul,” done during after-school sessions, as “intense.”
“Right now in the U.K., pop’s like the biggest thing … (and) as much as I like pop music, it’s not what I want to portray as my style of music, and loads of people really wanted me to do that,” she said.
It was released in the United Kingdom nine days after Winehouse’s death; a U.S. release is planned for 2012. The album — out on Winehouse’s label Lioness Records — is a collection soulful tunes that highlight Bromfield’s booming, yet raspy voice. And on some songs, she sounds like a younger Winehouse.
“Amy’s voice was Amy’s voice, and only Amy can sing how Amy did sing,” Bromfield said. “But, you know, I was trained up by her so I do, like, take a lot of characteristics that she had.”