Picks and Pans Review: Gold Coast

UPDATED 11/10/2003 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/10/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

Rhian Benson

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Newcomer Rhian Benson has model looks, a pleasant voice and remarkable luck. Three years ago the Ghana-born investment banker abandoned Harvard to care for her ailing mother in London. While there, she was discovered singing at an open-mike session in a local cafe. Now the 26-year-old neosoul stirrer surprises with a sultry Sade-like sound and lyrics that speak of fortitude and self-reliance: "How does it feel/when I don't say what you think I'm supposed to say?" An ambitious mix of smooth jazz, African beats and groove-propelled R & B, Gold Coast marks a colorful debut.

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