R&B Singer Ronnue brings the soul and a whole lot more
If you’re wearing a decent pair of headphones when listening to Ronnue’s “Be Your Freak” (a track that recently peaked at #1 on the NACC National College Radio Chart’s Hip-Hop Add’s), you’re going to feel every inch of dynamic range that the vibration of the percussion throughout the track has to offer, and though the beat is not quite as physically-engaging in “You Tried Me (The Man’s Anthem),” it’s definitely just as addictive. Whether he’s throwing the sizzle down behind the mic with Soultry in “Do It (Remix),” making love to the melody in “I’m a Lesbian,” flirting with old school balladic themes in “In Love,” crushing big grooves in “If We Stayed 2gether” or slicing through dynamic harmonies with Lone Star State rapper Figuz in “Why,” Ronnue is pouring every ounce of his soul into the music that he makes his living by, and to say that he’s taking the American pop hierarchy by storm in 2020 would be to make an understatement of enormous proportions. His record Introduction 2 Retro-Funk, which won the coveted prize of Album of the Year in Mark Druery’s Indieshark Music Magazine last year, might have put down the foundation for his eruptive playing style, but the consensus seems to be that we’re about to hear even more magic from this singer and songwriter in the coming eleven months than we ever did before. Though currently unsigned by any major label, Ronnue is drawing the kind of attention that will demand a reaction from the pop establishment sooner than later.
While some critics asserted that Ronnue was the product of a growing melodic hip-hop movement in the underground (heavily influenced by the creative direction of Kanye West and Drake, respectively), he is certainly not a rapper – if anything, he’s one of the more gifted singers I’ve had the chance of taking a peek at in the last few years. His breakout single “Be Your Freak” features a flowing lyrical style that instantly reminds listeners of a classic Motown sound (with a bit of new jack swing sprinkled into the mix for good measure) some had feared gone forever from the pop spectrum, and the track’s robust harmonies played a big part in its charting #11 on NumberOneMusic, #15 on the European Indie Network and #60 on the World Indie Chart. “Something About U (The Retro-Funk Mix)” has fared even better, raking in over 600 adds from DJs around the planet and subsequently hitting #2 on the Digital Radio Track (as well as #4 on the EIN and #11 on Airplay Magazine’s chart). His momentum is getting too big for anyone to stop, and whether his competitors in Memphis, Los Angeles and Jacksonville like it or not, he’s bringing a Seattle-ized energy back into the American pop fold in a big way.
Of all the independent artists that I’m following at the moment, Ronnue is probably the most intriguing of the bunch, not only because of his originality, but because of the personality that he affords so many of his songs. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that there isn’t some room for improvement; if he wants to stay on this present trajectory, he’ll have to continue diversifying his sound in one way or another without risking too much of his signature style, but if his past has taught us anything about his future, it’s that he isn’t going to back down from any challenge regardless of how daunting it might be. In short, I can’t wait to hear what this man comes up with next.