Sike! You can call it a comeback. And you should. R&B is absolutely making a return and I'm thrilled about it. In the last handful of years it seems the music industry has been about all things not R&B: pop (GaGa Mania and Bieber Fever), hip hop (Kid Cudi, Drake and Nicki Manaj -- the audibly omnipresent trifecta), and rock n roll (every band on every car commercial, hello?).
Yes, R&B is still around of course. John Legend keeps it going strong, Alicia Keys pops up every now and again, Usher ... well no, Usher's too busy making club hits like "OMG." In the 90's R&B was everything: Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Whitney Houston, Montell Jordan, Toni Braxton, Mary J Blige, Genuine ... uh, Lauryn Hill??!! There's no comparison to that decade of soulful standouts.
Boykins, a 25 year old from Chicago, carries a sweet, mellifluous falsetto -- reminiscent of Maxwell or D'Angelo. He rides a melody like a man possessed with emotion and sensuality. His tone is pure...it's sweet...it's slippery. And that hair ... thaaat haaaaaair!! Here's a recent video, directed by Dr. Woo, where Boykins covers Andre 3000's "Prototype":
Mara Hruby, a 23 year old native of Oakland, California, is making melodic waves in the scene as well. Her recently released debut album covers songs by her favorite male artists and -- luckily for you (and me) -- you can download it for free here. Hruby's buttery alto puts her in the company of modern-day greats like Diana Krall and Norah Jones, and her effortless sound evokes a nostalgia for the sounds of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Here she is covering Mos Def's "The Panties":
Oh, did I forget to mention she's stunning?!
Keep your ears out folks, R&B is coming back. Break out your candles and pillows and enjoy the ride.