I agree, the music industry is in dire need of some SOUL and while this reporter gives credit to both K’Jon and Maxwell, he failed to mention artists like Chrisette Michelle and the incredible anticipation of the Whitney Houston project.
Both K’Jon and Maxwell represent a strain of R&B that has remained blissfully ignorant of the rise and domination of hip-hop. In radio formatting terms, it’s urban adult contemporary, a name that does this often vibrant and underappreciated subgenre no favors. (It has a home on radio stations in most major cities; in New York it can be heard on 107.5, WBLS-FM.) For much of the last decade the format has been driven by neo-soul, though that movement has often felt like a conceptual offshoot of bohemian-minded rap. Adult soul, as practiced by Maxwell, K’Jon and others, borrows from classic soul in song structure and is preoccupied with more mature themes relevant to an older audience.
Twenty years ago some of these records might have been called “quiet storm,” and nowadays there’s overlap between smooth jazz, gospel and adult-oriented R&B. Kem, who like K’Jon is from Detroit, has released a pair of albums, “Kemistry” and “Album II” (Motown), that have helped shape the genre’s sound. Read the whole story here