Dion Inspiration

Before stepping out on her own, Soleil Diva had some success with her twin sister Philo in the group 2PM. Their album French Kiss allowed them to tour Europe as well as select U.S. cities. When Philo moved to Las Vegas, Soleil Diva began pursuing a solo career.

With her new self-titled album, the Washington, D.C.-born, Congo-raised singer, who lives in the Atlanta metro area, wants to accomplish big things. "I'm hoping to cross over with this album," she says in her slightly French accent attained from school years spent in Paris. Soleil's role model is Celine Dion. "She's like my biggest inspiration when it comes to international stars that have been able to cross over," she explains, "because I grew up listening to her French songs."

Yet, even though the Auburn University alum has crossover dreams, she only wants it on her own terms. As a result, her album is an amalgamation of many types of music that are important to her. There are uptempo dance songs, as well as heartfelt ballads such as the personal "Strength of a Mother" and "My Lord," a statement of her faith. The lead single "Rock Your Body" is sung in Spanish and Lingala, her native tongue.

Because she is deeply connected to the Continent, as the two gold pendants around her neck show, the song "Dance Inspiration (Les Enfants du tiers-monde)" is specifically for African children living with AIDS. "I tried to make it more of a happy song, a dance song," she explains, "but at the same time encourage people to support children with AIDS because kids are victims and we just can't ignore that."

Soleil Diva plays City Hall (55 Trinity Ave.) Sat., Dec. 11. $20. Special invited guests include Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Dikembe Mutombo and Mayor Shirley Franklin. Call Oga Productions at 404-441-5479 for more information.