Kristinia DeBarge really couldn't have had a better head start.
"Exposed" (SodaPop/Island Def Jam) is the result of all that work, featuring her light, effortless vocals tackling a lot of sweet, pretty pop - much of which was written and/or produced by Babyface. No wonder it all seems pretty inevitable.
DeBarge comes across as a streetwise Jordin Sparks with the stomping smash "Goodbye" and the new, more dance-oriented Rihanna-esque single "Sabotage." But what really sets her apart are the first-rate ballads that she flutters across, from the lovelorn "Disconnect," which anyone from Miley Cyrus to Whitney Houston would have fought to get on their albums, to the simple, quirky piano ballad "Doesn't Everybody Want to Fall in Love" that is also destined to be a smash. She even makes the tender, almost sappy "Died in Your Eyes" work for her.
"Exposed" really does unveil DeBarge, who's set to open for Britney Spears this fall, as a complete package and a music marketer's dream - a teenager who can sing grown-up songs and make them feel young, and feel comfortable with everything from hip-hop to Celine Dion ballads. Her wait to break into the public eye is about to be so totally worth it.
BOTTOM LINE A new, non-Disney(!) teen pop queen entry