For talented R&B singer/songwriter Kevin Ross, having his upcoming debut LP, The Awakening, get released on Motown Records in partnership with the Bar Entertainment, is a thrill, not least because he grew up idolizing Stevie Wonder, but his real goal is to make a mark in 2016, not merely try to repeat past glories. His entire approach is to blend the old-school soul music of his parents’ generation with the post-hip-hop cutting edge of today, which becomes clear on songs like the finger-snapping street corner doo-wop of the introspective “Pick You Up” or the hybrid R&B/rap of his interpretation of Kanye West’s “Say You Will” (“Don’t Say You Will”), featuring T.I.
“I acknowledge the Motown history and sound, but it our responsibility as a generation to up the ante,” says the DC/Maryland-born artist, who studied voice at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music before landing in Atlanta, where he’s collaborated with such artists as Jamie Foxx, Usher, and Akon. “We’re trying to be just as innovative today as Motown was back then. We want to create a sound that will be remembered 50 years from now. We want to make this Motown very different, a whole new brand. We have a voice with things to say, too. We want to make our own noise.”