Ife Sanchez Mora keeps good company. As a kid growing up in Detroit, she received an early piano lesson from Sun Ra, who’d been booked to play a local concert with her dad. As a teen, she found herself singing with some of her hometown’s best producers, including techno pioneers Derrick May and Blake Baxter. As an adult, she moved to New York and palled with trip-hop artist Tricky, who signed her to his own label.
Years later, Ife is still hanging out with the cool crowd — she’s married to Aaron Sanchez, by far the hippest chef on the Food Network — although her music has changed. Fire Inside of Me, her second solo record, ditches electronica in favor of a funky, bluesy sound. There’s even a country-ish twang to the lead single, “Hopeful Heart,” which she wrote with producer Ian Love.
“‘Hopeful Heart’” is the pop country song I have always wanted to write,” she says. “Sticking with the theme of my album, Fire Inside of Me, and the heart of country music writing, this song tells a tale of heartbreak and strength. The woman in this song is very brokenhearted by her lover, but is hopeful of one day having her true love. She is disappointed in him and thinks he is a fool, but is in no regard, disillusioned with love. She has weathered true storms in her life, so like any other difficult situation, she will conquer this obstacle and gain strength from it. These are some of my favorite lyrics that best describe “Hopeful Heart” : “There’s been storms that extend but I won’t give in. The wreckage is great, but the house still stands.”