Although hardly a new trend, it's been around since Elvis hit fame by covering popular R&B tunes, but there seems to be a recent crop of young soul singers who aren't African-American that have been popping up lately. They have all taken the old-school rhythm and blues that they were exposed to as kids and have re-interpreted it into a new sound that combines classic soul with a current pop and hip-hop feel.
ELI "PAPERBOY" REED
Hailing from Brookline, MA., Eli "Paperboy" Reed and his band, the True Loves had put out two independently released albums before his major-label debut , "Come And Get It" that was produced by Mike Elizondo who has worked with such diverse talents as Eminem, Fiona Apple and Gwen Stefani.
As a youngster, Eli grew up listening to early rock and roll, pop and country but it was his father's purchase of a box set by Ray Charles that was his introduction to soul music and truly changed his life.
He taught himself how to play the piano, guitar and harmonica and after finishing high school, Reed traveled the south and landed in Clarsdale, Mississippi where he immersed himself in to the local club scene. He brushed up on his performing skills and learned all about the blues and soul from the veteran performers. While there, he also got his nickname, "paperboy" because of his habit of wearing his grandfather's newsboy hat.
I"m trying to warm to him but it's just coming across like he's trying a little bit too hard to project a soul sound. I do think he's talented but I also think he's needs a little bit more time to grow as an artist and polish up his vocals.
Here's one of his tunes. What do you think?
Just Like Me - Eli "Paperboy" Reed
This is the music video of Mr. Reed performing with his band the title track off of his latest album:
Twenty-two year old, Mike Posner, who had a top ten hit this year with, "Cooler Than Me" has just released his debut album, "31 Minutes To Takeoff".
He was born and raised in the Motor City and at sixteen he went to the Recording Institute of Detroit while still in high school. While attending college, he worked with DJ Benzi and Don Cannon and released his first mixtape and soon after was offered a recording contract with Clive Davis' label, J. Records in 2009.
Although his music leans more towards hip-hop, there is definitely a R&B feel to his sound. The jury is still out on Mr. Posner because at this point he seems more like a poor man's version of Justin Timberlake but who knows? Who would have thought that former mouseketeer from a cheesy boy band would become a music superstar? I know I certainly didn't.
This is a song I like off his new CD:
Please Don't Go - Mike Posner
My personal favorite is Mayer Hawthorne. His terrific debut album, "A Strange Arrangement" came out last year but I don't think it got nearly enough attention as the album or he actually deserves.
Mr. Hawthorne, who is also from Michigan, was born Andrew Mayer Cohen in 1979 and he came up with his stage name by taking his middle name and using the name of the street he grew up on.
He first started as just a way to entertain his family and had no intention of actually becoming a singer. Mr. Hawthorne is not formally trained but he played all of the instruments, wrote the songs and produced his first album. He drew influence from classic soul artists he admired as well as singer/songwriters such as Curtis Mayfield, Motown's Holland-Dozier-Holland and Smokey Robinson.
I love his smooth falsetto and his confidence as a performer. I think he is the real deal and will be around for a long time. He even found time to perform and record hip-hop under the name, Haircut.
Here is a favorite song of his:
I Wish It Would Rain -Mayer Hawthorne
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