by Dom Jones
The above video, entitled “Road to The Awakening,” is pretty dramatic. It chronicles a brief part of Kevin’s journey leading up to the release of his debut album, in the format of a commercial/movie trailer. The making of this video is the business of music, which is necessary. Listening to the album, however; one discovers that Kevin is interested in the business of transforming people through music, sounds and words that can spark a thought or inspire a change.
The Awakening is an idealist’s album. That’s the feeling I got from Kevin Ross himself – when I met him earlier this month – that he’s an idealist. References to God and the bible are weaved throughout this project, though it never comes off as a gospel album, just the writing of someone who has an inextricable relationship with a higher power. There’s talk of love, social issues (everything from race to class to gender), and the common theme woven throughout the album is the idea of being “great.” From the Be Great intro to the remix with one of our favorites, BJ The Chicago Kid, it seems as though the artist is not just trying to reach his own level of greatness, but admonishing his listeners to reach their own levels.
This album reminds me of when I used to be able to listen to full albums without skipping a song, harkening back to the days of pristine R&B that tackled a myriad of topics like Donnell Jones, Babyface, Musiq Soulchild, or even Tevin Campbell. His vocal and songwriting chops are apparent, and my only gripe with the album is probably moreso
with the label than with Kevin. “Long Song Away” is a solid song, but shouldn’t have been the single, now that I’ve heard all of the choices. When I saw him perform “Don’t Forget About Me” at the show in Cambridge, I presumed that was the single because it was the one that stood out the most in his set. When I went home and googled, I realized that it wasn’t and was disappointed. Now that I’m listening to the album, there’s an even better suited tune for the single (and I hope they follow up the cd release with this song). “O.I.L.” (which stands for One I Love) is an upbeat tune with the feel of Timbaland via the Aaliyah, Ginuwine, Playa era of his production. “Be Great” (Remix) featuring label mate BJ The Chicago Kid may have even been a better a great strategic choice, as it’s an awesome song, features someone who is super hot right now (BJ is triple Grammy nominated), and is in line with the entire theme of the album. Check out the the video for the song below:
“Pick You Up” is the perfect song for any college student going through the struggle of, well… college. Berklee students in particular should listen up for this one when it comes around on the album. The hook promises:
So don’t forget when life brings you down/
It won’t last forever it’s just for now/
Everything will turn back around/
So you don’t have to stay on the ground/
I’ll pick you up
For some of his fellow songwriting majors, these lyrics may seem overly simplistic, but paired with the uncluttered production and background vocals reminiscent of the awesome social media videos he’s been posting of himself singing, you’ll definitely respect the tune, if not become inspired by it. I don’t want to give away everything, but this is definitely an album we should all support!
TAKE A SCREENSHOT OF YOUR PURCHASED ALBUM OR OF YOURSELF SINGING A SONG FROM THE ALBUM AND TAG US ON INSTAGRAM FOR A REPOST AND SHOUT OUT!
KEEP UP WITH KEVIN ROSS AT www.kevinrossmusic.net