Nothing makes an artist’s music stand out much more than when the listener can essentially feel [hear] their passion through it. Kaleem Taylor, a rising Soul/R&B native of West London does exactly that on his recently released sophomore E.P titled Alone.
Since the debut of his first EP Smooth – which critics say lived up to its title – 22-year old R&B/Soul singer Kaleem Taylor has been making a few major moves in the UK music scene. In 2011, he performed at London’s Brixton Academy for BBC 1Xtra Live alongside such stars as Jessie J, Big Sean and Kelly Rowland. Kaleem has also gone on to support the likes of Miguel and Boyz II Men in concert. His radio debut was the BBC 1Xtra playlisted “Blow Out” which was premiered by DJ Target and his BBC 1Xtra Maida Vale live session for Trevor Nelson has racked up over 175,000 views online so far.
Kaleem credits his inspiration to notable artists such as Stevie Wonder and D’Angelo and when asked why the EP is called Alone, he mentioned it was to make a point of doing your own thing without trying to be like anyone else. The Alone EP released under the Radar Music label has been garnering a lot of buzz so far and for very good reason.
Starting off this review is the album’s opening track “Gave You Everything”. This one song was all I needed to hear to know I wanted to write about this EP. Kaleem’s vocals start off in such a crisp baritone form that it’s almost unimaginable, such unique vocals exude from the young 21 year old. The introductory tracks instrumental is a combination of underlying keyboard sounds, a rhythmic drum groove and cymbals to create a seductive soulful sound. As you would come to find is the theme of the album, Kaleem sings of being open enough, giving everything in a relationship while all he wants in return is to be loved. The desire in his voice is so real – this is definitely one of the best produced and executed soul tracks I have ever heard in a while.
“Magic” with its 5 plus minutes of soothing R&B is one of those tracks you play and never want to hear end. The instrumentals on this song seem to be composed of similar components as on “Gave You Everything” plugged above with the inclusion of noticeable futuristic Synths that glaze the track and a more prominent drum loop. As expected, the major factor that brings the track all together is Kaleem’s organic vocals, which – simply put – makes for beautiful music. “Magic” re-enforces the importance of balance in a relationship as Kaleem sings “if you ride with me, I’ll ride with you” in a loving way affirming his commitment. “Magic” wins with its creative way of addressing an easily relatable situation.
Melodious harmonies and ad-libs laced over generated synths fill the introductory seconds of the track titled “Worth It” before Kaleem‘s vocals join in at around the 00:27 mark. The carefully arranged sounds that put “Worth It” together are inclusive of snaps, claps and a chilled drum pattern while lyrically, this R&B track takes on a situation where the heart and mind want different things; finding oneself in the position of waiting for a reason to show it was worth staying. Creatively crafted lyrics on an easy going musical milieu makes “Worth It” the track to fit almost any listening mood.
Although the 8-track EP runs only a little more than 29 minutes; all the songs seem like short love chapters. Kaleem Taylor shows a different side on the track – even on “It’ll Get Better”, which stands as the sole up-tempo tune on the EP, he shines bright. On another favorite titled “True Colours”, Kaleem playfully and candidly shares his disinterest in a cheating spouse while the “Interlude” with its minimalistic sounds is a showcase of Kaleem’s talent as he gives a snippet of his extensive vocal range. Personally, this is the Soul/R&B album I’ve been searching for all year long. On listening, I’m confident you will agree that Kaleem Taylor could rank with already established Soul artists with this project. If you’re in the London area, be sure to catch Kaleem performing at Shoreditch’s Queen of Hoxton on December 18.
Purchase: Kaleem Taylor – Alone EP (iTunes)