earns his living mainly as a music producer, so it should come as no shock that his self-titled debut album is well-produced. But what does come as a mild surprise is that Ryan can actually sing. He's not exactly a top-tier crooner like R. Kelly when it comes to vocal skills, but he's not an Auto-Tune addict like T-Pain, either. He's actually in between: a credible singer with a pleasant natural voice who makes up for his limited vocal range by sticking to his strengths. Ryan's debut, due in U.S. stores on Feb. 10, 2009, doesn't set the world on fire, but it does
establish R-Les as a credible singer.
is the guy who discovered one hit wonder R&B-pop singer Cassie and produced her only hit, "Me and You," back in 2006. And if he can turn someone with as little singing talent as her into a star (albeit temporarily), then it's not a stretch to say that he can become a successful artist himself. And he gives it his all on tracks like "Diamond Girl"
and the break-up song "How It Was Supposed to Be."
Surprisingly, one of the album's best songs features the aforementioned Cassie, who actually shines in singing the hook on "Addiction." The smooth, lusty song, which is about being addicted to someone, also benefits from some bars from the rapper Fabolous. Another gem is the mid-tempo love song "Just Right," where R-Les sings: "Baby, you're my cure (you're my remedy), so sincere & pure (said I'll never leave), I'll stay by your side (for eternity) 'til the day I die."
Another plus is that production-wise, Ryan doesn't follow trends or regurgitate the same ol' same ol' stuff that's been overdone the past couple of years. In other words, there's no pseudo-Hip Hop jams, no club tracks, and no guest appearances except on the previously-mentioned "Addicted." Pretty much all the songs are low key, mid-tempo ballads. But although there are many highlights on the album, there's a few drawbacks, too. Ryan never establishes himself as a great singer, and about halfway through the album, most of the songs start to sound generic. Ryan makes up for that on the album's closing track, "Gibberish," which is an Auto Tuned-out ballad parodying artists like T-Pain and The-Dream.