There are hundreds, if not thousands, if not tens of thousands of talented singers out there who are just as good, if not better than those lucky (and talented) people already signed to recording contracts. And sometimes those unsigned artists are actually more gifted than the singers who have record deals. So this list is dedicated to all the talented artists out there who, for one reason or another, have yet to get their big break with a major record label. If you're looking for good music beyond the usual radio songs that get played over and over again, check out these talented folks via their MySpace pages.
How in the world is a singer this good not already signed to a record label? Somebody out there needs to hook up Perry - excuse me, Just Perry - with a contract. Dude has a pure voice, great lyrics and a unique sound. Or as Perry himself puts it, 'old-school foundation with a new-school swagger.' Perry also lives in Los Angeles, so all you music execs out there - holla at him.
A true undiscovered gem is Detroit singer-songwriter-producer Paul Hill. Paul may not be a household name (yet), but he's no stranger to music industry insiders, having worked with Dallas Austin, George Clinton and Too $hort, to name a few. Paul, who's a soulful R&B artist, has a few of his songs posted on the internet, including my favorite of his, a laid-back, romantic jam called "Spacing on My Space." You can listen the song, and a few more of his songs at his MySpace page. Your Guide recommends that you check him out when you have a chance.
If there ever was an example of how global the art of music has become over the decades, Fernando Cardo is it. Fernando is a soulful young R&B/Gospel singer who's just as talented as any of the top Soul vocalists in the U.S. today. It's amazing that this guy isn't signed to a label. But he's not, which is why he's being featured here, in About R&B's week-long salute to great artists who for one reason or another, aren't signed to a major record label. Fernando has a smooth, Latin lover-type style that can favorably be compared to big-name artists like Brian McKnight, Will Downing, George Benson and even the late, great Luther Vandross. If you're a fan of any of those artists, you'll want to hear Fernando do his thing.
Jayms Madison (the first name's pronounced James), is a singer from the New York City area. Jayms, who was born in 1987 in the Bronx, New York, moved to Jamaica at age 2, then to Venezuela at age 9 and finally back to the U.S. about a year later. Somewhere along the way, she managed to develop her talent for singing and songwriter. If you visit her MySpace page, you can hear some of her songs about love and relationships, including your Guide's personal favorite, the upbeat, sexy "Room Service."
They have an unusual name - it's Singnature, not Signature - but their name is the only thing about this group that's a little crazy-sounding. Singnature is a traditional male vocal group out of Rochester, N.Y. that was formerly known as Street Squad. They're the fifth and final unsigned act that your Guide to R&B is spotlighting this week. L-Starzz, Law, Champ and Shakez are the names of the members, but I can't tell who's who by looking at the picture. So if you need or want to find out, check out one of their two MySpace pages. And while you're there, listen to the reason they're being spotlighted here: a sexy, sultry track called "Lay Ya Body Down."
E. Walter Smith is a man who has such a smooth, polished voice and such a sophisticated persona that it seems like he's probably always been signed to a major label. But, no. E. Walter, who hails from Atlanta, is actually an independent, unsigned artist. He isn't exactly unknown, however. He's done plenty of local commercials and voice-overs and one of his songs was even featured right here on the About R&B site back in February 2007.
Peter Hadar is the real deal. Dude has a unique, sensual voice that may have its ups and downs but is still probably better than half the cats out there who have label deals. To see if you agree, listen to his version of "Lean On Me" (another song by him called "First Sight" is also recommended) at Peter's MySpace page. You can visit his page by clicking the 'more info' link below.
Melanie Rutherford is an R&B/Soul/Hip-Hop singer from the great state of Michigan. Melanie might not have a deal with a major label, but she's not letting that stop her from doing her thing. She independently released an album called Relationships In My Own Words in 2007, and its filled with real talk about real issues like broken relationships, life's struggles and unconditional love.