Just in time for Valentines Day, here comes another list.
At first glance Luke James is perfect to take the torch passed by Tyrese as this generations new muscle bound crooner. Didn’t seem like long ago he was just a random video on VH1 Soul. With two free EPs in deep download rotation, Luke managed to score a Grammy nom before his first album is released. If you haven’t caught him opening for Beyonce, you should make a point to catch him at one of his solo live shows. His first release in 2011, #luke is the perfect introduction. The vocal arrangements on each track tell you exactly what sets him apart. “Made to Love” may not be the first track but it’s the first I suggest. The acapella harmonies in the background alone are rare these days with new artists.
A year later to the day he released Whispers in the Dark. There are very few established artists these days that put effort in the overall aesthetics of a project. Everything from the title, simplicity of the cover art to the selection of movie snips used as interludes (references from a few of our 90’s favorites) tie in perfectly with each song. The perfect example is the interlude "The Audacity" followed by "Mo Better Blues," an innovative spin on a cult favorite. You can turn your shuffle off and vibe to this from start to finish. I wish the young brother the best of luck and look forward to his first major release in 2013. (Twitter: @whoislukejames)
Ne-yo’s Compound Entertainment cannot pub this brown bombshell enough. With those endorsements, I had to check her out, and I was sold. This girl embodies the mature, sexy attitude and image missing in many of the newer R&B stars. She is currently stepping out on her own in various shows all over the country performing songs off her EP Love Always…. The Introduction.
This project is exactly what I expect from such a powerhouse and her voice matches perfectly. With company like Ne-yo and Chuck Harmony around, how could she not? “Anybody Else” is a ballad anyone in entertainment can relate to. “THC” and her current single “Better Be Good” are those I wish a girl would sing to me and that’s rare. Through the whole EP she is not the woman scorned or the female pimp on mission we all grown used to hearing. More like the sweet girl at work or in your class you are attracted to but never dated. (Twitter: @itsRavaughn)
This girl caught my attention in 2008 when she first signed to Def Jam and released First Love. She had the vocal and instrumental talent any Brian McKnight Alicia Keys fan would appreciate. Sadly,her debut drowned in the wake of the rap/ singing auto-tune wave. Since the album she kept her buzz going on all of the popular blogsites with independent releases, including her cover of Brandy’s "Brokenhearted," featuring Sammie (yes “I Like It” Sammie) and the playful "It's Whatever."
In 2011 she released the EP Trips to Venus, a project is in heavy personal playlist rotation. "Just Another Melody" is one of those lyrical, feel-good, mid-tempos that never get old. Now “Perfectly Different” may just be my future wedding song. It is today’s “Never Felt This Way” (Brian Mcknight). Along with great music, I respect her parents for how the run Pasian Entertainment. Anyone looking to survive in this game should really pay close attention to how she is marketed, promoted and released. They have a great combination of old school tactics with new school applications. (Twitter: @KarinaPasian)
R&B isn’t dead and I am just getting warmed up…….