In house music, the diva is usually faceless and unheralded, even though her voice drives a million dance floors around the world and her sheer force of personality lends color to bland 4/4 beats. Thank heavens then for New York vocalist Lisa Shaw, the rare woman outside of Martha Wash who is as famous as her collaborators -- ranging from Blue Six and Miguel Migs to production vets like her husband DJ Swingsett, Kerri Chandler, and Gene Farris. Despite results as varied as the masterful "Always" and the meditative "You Are Love," her strong yet incandescent voice stands out.
Shaw was one of the main reasons behind the Naked Music imprint's ascent three years ago. Though the San Francisco record company has come under fire recently for churning out too many sexy and smooth tracks that seemed years removed from the genre's garage origins, the promise of a long-awaited debut album from her in 2004 makes it a label to contend with. And as for her own career? Let's just say that when the history of early 21st-century house music is written, her name won't be forgotten.