SOUNDS LIKE: Michael Jackson singing RnB in a jazz cafe
Paul Raj is another gentlemen I happen to know through my time in a band (it’s a small world!). When I heard the other day that Paul had performed on the televised version of The Voice UK my heart skipped a beat and I leapt on to the internet to watch his performance. All favouritism and bias aside: Paul has an incredible voice, is an exquisite musician, and it is a mighty shame that he didn’t get picked by the judges. Sure jazz isn’t everyone’s favourite genre, and delving into Paul’s music will uncover songs that are on the ‘jazzy’ end of the spectrum (if that’s possible), but if you want a moment of “wow, that’s impressive”, then this is your guy. “Fine China” is the Chris Brown cover he performed on The Voice, and is his latest music video.
Talk about talent and mastering your instrument! Everyone knows jazz is a tough genre as it is, but to be able to combine the rapid chord changes with strong and tuneful falsetto as is demonstrated here: it is a wonder to behold. This sort of easy listening, smooth RnB isn’t usually my cup of tea – in fact I had never even heard the original until just now when I was researching the song – but it is clear that Paul has made this song his own, and to say that this is a great version is an understatement and a half. The trills and runs that come out of his mouth are masterfully done – you will struggle to hear many unsigned musicians who are able to sing like him that’s for sure! You can hear every drop of passion in his tone, and it is crystal clear how much he loves music. For me, and in fact for most people, this song is unthinkably high, but somehow Paul manages to project his voice at notes most girls might struggle with. Put me down as gobsmacked.
Paul has a lot going for him: follow him on twitter and you will see that he is a driven, polite, and kind individual that is endearing beyond belief. Just watch his reaction to Kylie Minogue’s feedback on the voice and right there is a man that people will want to work with. Although singing a Chris Brown song, Paul lacks the unbearable swagger that many musicians him exude these days. There are no suggestions of expectation or entitlement; just a can-do attitude that is sorely needed in this industry.
The reason this song grabs me is the sheer musicianship that is demonstrated. Whether you like this kind of music or not, you simply cannot deny that here is somebody that has put the effort in for his art, and as a result can do things that most people cannot do. This is a musician that is a credit to music as a whole. If you go and listen to his EP of original material, you will hear that Paul’s talent carries on into his own work; if anything, sounding better that this cover.
This style of song wont be for everybody. Even I myself find myself wincing at the RnB vibe in this song at times, but look past that, and here is music that stands out.