Shawn Smith is a contemporary R&B artist from Grand Rapids Michigan and currently resides in Chicago, IL. He is also a professional author and actor. He published the Children’s Poetry book “Letters From the Farm” and has starred in various new plays in Chicago. Shawn’s love for music has been enduring, as he been singing, playing, and writing since he was young. Cool, but highly energetic, Shawn never needs to break a sweat due to the power of his skillset. Yet his deliveries still pack an authoritative punch, whether he is crooning soulfully or rhyming rapidly. His 7-track project, “Before I Begin”, plays testimony to the aforementioned facts.
“Before I Begin” is a sound record through and through. Shawn Smith delivers gorgeous, refined vocals – all perfectly executed. Beyond the vocal performances, the production is pretty thoughtful, and never overwhelms, allowing the singer’s voice to take center stage. Lyrically, the project is just as alluring. To say R&B is dead, is extremely lame and deceitful when talents such as Shawn Smith exist.
Right from the opening track, “Majors & Minors” ft. Micah the Sage, Shawn Smith delivers a pristine body work, which will sweep listeners through the diverse flavors of modern R&B. Laser sharp rap verses intertwine with melodic vocals which soar, twist and comfort audiences, as Shawn instantly transport them into his sonic world. “Work” has a lightning fast flow as Shawn Smith stretches his voice between mellifluous flourishes and explosive rhyme schemes that will have you in awe of his talent.
While the lush harmonious sounds may be relaxed on “Sound The Alarm” the lyrics and vocals evoke some pretty heavy passionate emotions. Under the vocals, the throb of a beating drum and skittering hi-hats push the slow-burning momentum, before Shawn Smith breaks into an ear-piercing falsetto. “Glass” takes us further done Shawn’s sentimental rabbit hole, as highlights a series of alternating vocal inflections and configurations.
As the project moves forward, the tones becomes more introspective and soulful, reaching an apex on “Senseless”. Blissful keys and shimmering guitars blend to underscore layers of hypnotic vocal arrangements. Shawn Smith never delivers just one simple melody line; instead, he builds layers of complex harmony in the most uncanny ways. It’s so pure and sweet. Shawn’s eclectic musicality is just unlike anything else out.
Regardless of the melancholic lyrical theme, sonically “Let Go” continues to ease the soul with its John Legend type vocal stylings. The slow burner oozes pure vibes and grooviness. With such distinguished artistry, Shawn Smith is a reminder that R&B is alive, and thriving. He closes the project on an absolute high point, with the echoing sounds of “Try Again”, which evolve as the track moves forward.
The fluidity, the composition of the music and the lyrics, hand out lessons for other artists and musicians of all levels. Unhindered by genre limits and borders, Shawn Smith flips his R&B sound into a number of mesmerizing shapes. Creatively charged and filled with purpose and intention, “Before I Begin” is an exceptional project. Slick and smooth, it pushes the envelope and oozes with unconventional appeal, currently unmatched. The sonic warmth and bliss comes from Shawn Smith’s unwavering confidence so easily perceptible in his performances.
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/before-i-begin/1631138579