As a model, Nadia Mladjao would have seen all there is in the world of luxury and excess. But the 27-year-old singer, better known as Imany, keeps it simple with her guitar on her debut album, "The Shape of a Broken Heart."

"What I really wanted was for my album to be timeless," she says. "Complicated music and music that's marked by its own time is very current, but a guitar will always sound like a guitar."

Her deep, soulful voice contrasts beautifully with the acoustic guitar and is what draws people to her music. While growing up in her native France, though, she says her voice used to bother her so much that she developed a complex about it. That changed when she moved to New York in her early 20s.