First Listen: Terrell Carter Wants To Be Loved

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Since Dinah Washington first belted an identical sentiment on her classic Mercury Records hit, many a singer has expressed the quiet yearning of wanting to be loved, singing to the lonely hearts of millions of seeking, romantic souls in the process. The material often takes on double meaning when talking about artists who also long for the love of the public for them and their art. Now comes longtime R&B lothario, Terrell Carter, with his own original spin on this universal subject as one of the standout tracks on his latest independent release, Something in the Water: Life, Lessons and Redemption, Vol 1. While the musically uneven project is a protracted 17 songs in a time when 12 or less has become the new standard, Carter still delivers a solid group of R&B and inspirational gospel songs that collectively represent his most creative and effective work since his personal best, 2007’s Carlela’s Reign.

Carter is most famous for his beefcake physique and supporting roles in Tyler Perry plays and films like Meet the Browns and Diary of a Mad Black Woman, respectively, but he has also independently released no less than six contemporary R&B projects over the years to legions of fans, social media followers, and frequenters of the urban theater circuit. That fandom grew during an all too brief stint on NBC’s The Voice, but inexplicably he’s never broken through to become the household name his looks and more than ample talents suggest he deserves.   

While Carter has always been the complete package with the vocal goods, his indie projects haven’t always demonstrated consistency in melody or hook, with only “Yellow” and “My Life,” duets with friend India.Arie, ever really catching fire. This song and a handful like it on his new project could be game changers in Carter’s near 15-year career. Slick and produced with an urban contemporary radio sound in mind, “I Wanna Be Loved” is representative of the heightened production values to be found throughout Something in the Water… With a layered, harmonic sound that is part Beach Boys, part PM Dawn, Carter goes from hushed tones to a soaring falsetto. He’s best known for having one of the most agile and fluid baritones in the music industry today, so to hear him so comfortably sing in a first tenor range is a beautiful delight. If there’s a critique of this song and project, it’s that Carter is one of the few males out today whose voice doesn’t need an ounce of studio wizardry to sell a song, so the auto-tuning coating his instrument is superfluous. That said, with material like this, Carter might finally get all the love he’s long wanted and deserved.

By L. Michael Gipson

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