It is late evening, and Debelah Morgan has already been grilled and snapped so many times that she has lost count. As a photographer scurries around the empty hotel restaurant for more photogenic settings, Morgan sits down at the piano and waits. A diva beside a grand piano: a common promotional cliche for every pop star in the world, from multi-platinum selling megastars to small-time cabaret singers. However, Morgan does something that even superstars Mariah Carey and Celine Dion would deem impossible - she manages to conjure an eloquent stream of music from the instrument. The photographer appears awestruck, seemingly unable to fathom how this songstress, whose record artwork involves posing on a bed with flowers amid a cheesily fluorescent set, could play so eloquently, if at all. To her assistants, however, this spontaneous rendition seems to be an everyday occurrence, as one dozes off and the other thumbs through a magazine. Punters are forgiven for their cynicism: Morgan's latest release, It's Not Over, features songs named I Love You, Our Sweet Love and Still In Love, and all sound as saccharine as their titles suggest. This is hardly refreshing and innovative stuff. Look closer, however, and Morgan offers more than her face value suggests - at least among the multi-octave sopranos she will be compared with sooner or later. She co-wrote seven songs on It's Not Over, and has a hand in the keyboard programming as well as guitar and piano takes. 'I definitely think my songwriting and my playing the piano separates me from my peers - as well as the fact that I made an album that embraces everyone instead of one particular audience,' said Morgan, after the shoot. She was also unapologetic about the romance-drenched content of her latest album, describing herself as a 'hopeless romantic'. 'It's a collection of love songs and my concept was: When people listen to this album, they would be able to remember everyone that they have ever loved and the one they dream of loving,' she said. 'Pop R & B' was what she aimed to deliver, she said, and from the material on show on It's Not Over, it seems that she is having a field day pursuing her mainstream dreams. Apart from the ballads that come dripping with slick rhythms and sweepy synthesisers, Morgan - and her production team comprising Vassal Benford and her brother Giloh - ventures into safe funk territory with Whatever, and all-out high-energy dance mode with Ain't No Mountain High Enough, a reinterpretation of one of Motown's finest moments. 'The president of Motown said to me, 'Hey Deb, you should think about doing this song', and I said I'd listen to it. When I heard the words I went 'wow' - I thought the idea behind the song was really beautiful: someone who would show unconditional love and going to the end of the world for you,' she said. Dreamy romanticism, of course, is what Motown is famous for, from the days of the Supremes through to Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Morgan's material is nothing less than tailor-made for the label. Life, however, has never been all roses for Morgan. Although she has been involved in making music since childhood, her first deal at Atlantic four years ago was disastrous. It was there that she released her maiden record - a major commercial flop. Unsurprisingly, Morgan has gone to great lengths to distance herself from that smudgy past, saying her non-participation in the songwriting process contributed to the album's downfall. 'I didn't make the album of songs that I wanted to make, and I was surrounded by people who were doing it for the first time too - I was like a guinea pig. 'My brother and I wrote these songs on a demo and that's why we got the [Atlantic] deal. But then other people got involved - and they wanted me to be like Mary J Blige. 'I was thinking, let Mary be Mary and let me be me because I've got a different kind of voice. 'I wasn't given the opportunity to do my job and I was told, 'This is what you're going to do and you better do it, or else we will take away your deal',' she said. And took away the deal Atlantic Records finally did - a bitter pill to swallow for Morgan, who was only 18 then. 'My manager at the time called me at four in the morning and left this message on my answering machine,' she recalled. Her way to deal with the aftershock was to get away from it all - she took on odd jobs outside showbusiness, such as selling cosmetics and poring over paperwork in a shipping company. 'I can hold an envelope and I can tell you how much postage is needed,' she joked. With all her previous torments, the Motown deal was a comeback that smacked of a dream-come-true quality, she said - and one that suited her fine as well. 'This time when I was shopping for a deal, I did not only shop for a fair deal, but also for someone who could provide me with a home and support that I knew my music needed. 'The working atmosphere [at Motown] is more of love and people who would like me to succeed - so there are times when I am able to light some candles, get some flowers and relax and sing from the heart, instead of being under pressure because I don't like the songs or I have a mean producer,' she said. Considering Morgan's much-simplified sentiments towards love and affection, It's Not Over might not harbour the ironic pun it smacks of in the context of her rollercoaster career. With the support of an enthusiastic record company, Morgan definitely has the ability to make her uniformly saccharine material go a really long way.