It’s refreshing to hear a new young woman who can truly sing R&B. It feels like we’ve been missing her from the soul scene for a while. Houston-born, Chicago-raised, NYC-based Gloria Ry’ann is a musical descendant of the kind of smooth soul that introduced Faith Evans and Teedra Moses to the industry. On silky sheaths of sound like “Where You Are” and the haunting “Wait a Minute,” a cooing and cajoling Ry’ann proves that she’s worthy of these divas’ mantle.
The slow jam heavy debut EP, Just Glow, is solidly produced with a surprisingly fresh ‘90s R&B sound that encourages a revival of that decade’s more sumptuous sounds. With “Gravity,” Ry’ann does tip her hat to the synth pop playing on terrestrial radio for the kiddies, and proves the only moment that compels skipping. Ry’ann delves into more creative territory with the atmospheric “Divine,” lyrically and musically expressing the glow of love. Its doo wop and acoustic soul flourishes over a rolling marching drum; the song reveals a range of tender, experimental textures that contrast the project’s more traditionally urbane ballads. The chanteuse also takes this five-song opportunity to join the ranks of Trina Broussard and Sy Smith in daring to conquer Minnie Ripperton’s suggestively orgasmic “Inside My Love,” blowing its whistle note climaxes out of the water on both classic and sultry remixed takes. All in all, Ry’ann whets listener’s whistle for more of her effortless glow.
Notable Songs: “Divine,” “Where You Are,” and “Wait a Minute.”
Vocals: 3.5 stars
Music: 2.5 stars
Lyrics: 3.0 stars
Production: 2.5 stars
SoulTracks Call: Recommended
By L. Michael Gipson