Good Ole R&B

Despite placing songs with Aretha Franklin, Chante Moore, the Temptations and Luther Vandross, Katrina Willis of K. Willis and the Collection didn't feel her songs were getting optimum exposure. "I just had so many songs that I feel are worthy of attention," says Willis.

Because her songs are not today's "bump & grind" fare, the Dayton, Ohio, native, who has lived in Atlanta for years, gathered a four-man band (drummer Tom Knight, guitarist Derek Scott, keyboardist Karl Antoine and bassist Calvin Palmer) to take her music to the people. "I feel that there is an audience ... who enjoy[s] just good ole R&B," insists Willis. A little over a year later, fan support, aided by a self-titled album, is growing.

"I knew I wanted it to be a band because I wanted to set myself apart from all the other female artists," says Willis. "I wanted to do something that hadn't been done in years, having a female front person for a band."

Although reminiscent of '80s groups such as Atlanta's own S.O.S. Band, Willis' sound is far from straight funk. At times, hints of gospel seep through the lush arrangements that give a live feel even in CD form to K. Willis and the Collection's full-length. "All I Want" and "Somebody," with lyrics such as "All I want is to love you/All I want is your love" and "I saw somebody/who looked just like you/He reminded me of the way/I used to make love to you," are in keeping with R&B themes of love — secured, desired and lost.

"I believe if I put music out there for a specific market, my age and up, I think that they will buy it," says Willis with conviction. And, so far, she is right.K. Willis and the Collection play Tower Records Sat., Aug. 28. 4:30-6:30 p.m. Free.