Wednesday, May 27, 2009

10 Underrated Male R&B Singers

Some of the fellas listed below may or may not be actively recording, some have had massive success others haven't. For those that know me knows I love a good voice (no voice is greater than Donny Hathaway) but God didnt bless everyone (lol). But the brothers listed below are voices that i find interesting and should be applauded for their vocal gifts. I dont consider this ranking a best to worse but just 10 singers I think deserve some recognition and why I think they are underrated

1. Stokley (from Mint Condition)- If you have ever seen this band live then you know the ridiculous range this brother has.. he can go from top to bottom and back again. Stokely's tenor is amazing and restrained.. you just wait for him to break it down on Pretty Brown Eyes. He even tackles the impossible Phillip Bailey on a remake of Earth Wind and Fire's After the Love Is Gone.

2. Eric Roberson- This DC native's voice is simply an instrument to behold. I dont find him as "range-y" as some of the other singers on this list but his voice is pretty and he emotes well on his songs.. he can truly tell a story with his awesome gift.

3. Frank McComb- He is ALMOST the second coming of Donny Hathaway. The phrasing and instrumentation is very close to Donny.. I just think he misses the passion of Mr. Hathaway. Frank, like Eric Roberson, had one of the purest vocal tones I've heard in a LONG time. I recommend When You Call My Name to introduce yourself to Frank McComb. His voice simply floats over the music. You will not be disappointed by his voice.

4. Lil G (from Silk)- I never gave him much credit or attention but one Saturday afternoon i was sitting around watching Showtime at the Apollo and I was absolutely spell bound by the sound that was coming out of my TV. The song was Lose Control and Lil G TORE THAT STAGE UP... up until that time it had been a minute since I have seen a guy just rip up the stage. He was treading into Prince territory with those screams. Vocally he was amazing he pretty much regulated the rest of the group to the background. For me it was a legendary performance and I have it on tape... Still one of the best Apollo performances of the 90s.

5. Alexander O'Neal- I dont think Alex has a particularly pretty voice, but he makes it work. I dont fully believe that he knows what to do with his voice but producers certainly do. One listen to Sunshine or the INCREDIBLE If You Were Here Tonight and you just know that dude is destined to be a great one. He was never fully appreciated , even though I believed he had commercial success. I think he like frequent duet partner Cherrelle are pretty much known for their duets together but Alex proved he could stand on his own. For some reason i picked him as the

6. Joe- Again another singer that I dont think is a natural talent but when combined with the right song and production his vocal gifts get put on display in a major way. His debut was a bit underwhelming but his next two releases, All That I Am and My Name is Joe, were certified bangers. All That Am was a great album where Joe really got to flex his vocal muscle and proved he deserved a spot in the R&B landscape at that time. My Name is Joe really pushed him to his greatest commercial success thanks to I Wanna Know and collabos with N'Sync and Mariah Carey. He has released several more albums since then but I still think he is very underrated.

7. Rahsaan Patterson- I actually wish Rahsaan would attempt to do jazz standards.. I think he has an opportunity to shine there. As much as it pains me to say but I do think his sexual orientation is keeping him from the success and recognition he deserves. Vocally there is not much wrong with him IMO.. His last album Wines and Spirits boasted one of his best vocals to date on the song Stars.. simply stunning.

8. Anthony David- truly an underrated soul singer. His album Acey Duecy and many of his previous independent albums are just dripping with raw soul. He has a sincerity in his voice that just shines through.. dont believe me... peep his song Cheatin Man..passion and yearning.

9. Glenn Lewis- He was a fresh artist that sounded like a young Stevie Wonder. I dont know why he didnt catch on, vocally I thought he was outstanding. Take a listen to It's Not Fair..amazing

10. Maxwell- I'll admit i wasnt a big fan of Maxwell initially but overtime he grew into one of my favorite artists. I think the turning point was his MV Unplugged album, where he just stood on stage and gave an absolutely STUNNING version of Whenever, Wherever, Whatever. i was hooked at that moment. Probably the most sensual voice out of my list..

Again this is a list not so much a rank. I implore everyone to give these 10 singers a try...become introduced or rediscover these 10 talented brothers.

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