Remember the days when soulful ballads played from speakers? The days before radio DJ’s played the same ten songs over and over again? Yeah, it may be hard to think so far back, but during those times, male vocalists reigned supreme; creating lyrical content that became the soundtrack to any and every romantic moment.
During the 90s, music just had more substance. Singers and songwriters took pride in their lyrics and R&B was thriving. Today, male vocalists are an endangered species. Artists such as Robin Thicke, Mario, and John Legend don’t receive the same promotion as Hip-Hop stars like Lil’ Wayne and Drake. Robin Thicke is truly talented, yet he had to totally reinvent himself and feature a rap artist on his song before he received any real radio play. Is this a reflection on us as listeners? Can R&B music be saved from an overall lack of promotion?
Although it appeared there would be no more male crooners, there is one singer that seems to stand out from the pack. In 2010, rapper J.Cole was featured on a song titled, All I Want is You. The song was an instant hit, and was played on almost all radio stations across the nation. J.Cole is a great lyricist, but the real focus was on the unknown singer named, Miguel. Capitalizing on this overnight success, Miguel released a follow up single titled, Sure Thing. The song peaked at number one on the R&B charts solidifying his status as an emerging artist and a refreshing addition to R&B music.
Yesterday, October 2nd, Miguel released his second studio album, Kaleidoscope Dream. The album was highly anticipated, as there are no R&B albums currently being played on the radio. The first single released, Adorn, skyrocketed to the top of the R&B Billboard charts. Miguel’s musical influences are wide and eclectic with hints of Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix. With fingers crossed and high hopes Miguel’s voice should help to bring male vocalists back to the forefront of music.