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May 15th 2004


More personal - UsherUsher - Confessions: LP (Laface/Arista)


When I first heard the then 14 year old Usher Raymond (as he was called then), he was savy, full of spunk and a fresh new talent to pop up on you so you asked yourself that if he had the right producers and songwriters behind him, he could go far - but who knew right?

Now I'll admit I wasn't a big fan of Usher himself but you had to give the Atlanta native props for the music because he did seek out the best producers and songwriters to surround him on his projects. Since he came to the limelight some 10 years ago we've seen him steadily grow as an artist who paced himself not to rush the making process of his music.

After dropping his debut, It took him 3 years for the sophomore set to show. 'My Way' now set the bar rolling with hit singles like 'You make Me Wanna', 'Just Like Me' and the title track. My question then was 'Can he topple that success and set the bar even higher?' well 4 yrs past and then came '8701' (originally called 'All about u' and was scheduled for release the year before but the album was leaked to the internet and becasue of that was completely remastered) and the hits just kept coming: 'You've Got it Bad', 'You Don't Have to Call', 'U Remind Me' and 'Pop your Collar' were all top 20 tracks and made him a 'SuperStar'.

And so we come forward another 3 years to 2004 and his latest release 'Confessions'. Again the helping hands are solid as the likes of young gun maverick producers Just Blaze, (Throwback) Andre Harris, Vidal Davis, Bobby Ross Avila and Brian Micheal Cox strut their stuff. Veterans Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Truth Hurts) and Janet Jackson's beau Jermaine 'JD' Dupri are on board as well.

This time around Usher expresses a more personal side to his personna as he discusses matters of the heart in more detail as he's now experienced it. From the prospect of becoming a father (in the title track 'Confessions'), to ex-girlfirend Rozanda 'Chili' Thomas of TLC fame (in Superstar). There's a hint of Prince's 'Purple Rain' on the track 'Do it To Me' (if I recall I believe that's also a Prince track as well) while 'Can You Handle It' just doesn't sound like Usher as his voice is deeper, more seasoned on the track. But you have to give him credit where credit is due because he's found an audience that is appreciative of his work in selling 3 million copies in 5 weeks.

The album is in stores and record shops now so if you're a fan get yourself a copy or even if you're not a fan, it's up to you either way - A TY-D Pick

Listen to Usher's - 'Simple Things'

Listen to Usher's - 'Truth Hurts'

Sir TY






Doing his own thing  - Bobby Ross AvilaBobby Ross Avila - Running (Ruffnation/WBR)


Now you're probably asking yourself where have I heard that name before well Bobby Ross Avila is no stranger to the R&B scene I can tell you. In 1989, Bobby had a couple of radio friendly hits on his hands with 'I'm your Puppet' and 'Let's Stay Together', a self titled album and admirers both young and old all at the tender age of 13.

That was then and since then he has steadily been honing his craft both as a musician and a performer. His work can be found on quite a few projects that carries into all genres. From R&B to Hip Hop to Contemporary Christian music you will find his hand in something there. He's worked with some of the legends too from Aretha Franklin to todays top billing stars like Janet Jackson and Usher and it doesn't stop there either because he's had 5 albums since his debut self-titled set.

His latest single is 'Running' is taken from his forthcoming set 'Audiography'. The song has him sounding like a young Stevie Wonder in some instances as Bobby adds his smooth soulful vibe to the flow of things when handling the song with touch of ease. I read somewhere that he's going to turn some heads but I think that he's already accomplished that feat.

Now a accomplished musician, producer and studio engineer, Bobby Ross Avila who plays guitar, keyboards and harmonica on his forthcoming album gets set to take the R&B world by storm with a little more polish this time around after all he's not 13 anymore but he's still highly in demand.

No word on when the album 'Audiography' will hit your record shop selves but I'll be sure to keep you posted of when. Be on the look out for this one as it an excellent track for the soul fan speaking of which you just might become one. A TY-D Pick - no doubt

Listen to Bobby Ross Avila - 'Runnin'

Sir TY




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