Captured in crisp, hi-def audio and backed by players who invest each tune with sensitivity and touch, RĀI emits a pro-level voice on decent material—steeped in gospel instincts and early 2000’s R&B—that’s aimed at mature, sophisticated listeners. Set to a jazzy, funky groove, “Here I Am” is about achievement in the face of adversity. On “How to Love,” RĀI sincerely asks his lover’s help in overcoming selfishness. Most memorable is “Priceless,” a sunny and soulful tribute to his special someone. All in all, there’s plenty to admire in here; what we do not hear is a distinctive personality, a singer who is prepared to take the spotlight and command the mic.
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