Artists like Jalen Ngonda come around once in a lifetime, so it is our privilege and distinct pleasure to announce the release of his debut album ‘Come Around and Love Me’.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing Jalen perform live knows that he is one of the most captivating performers on today's soul scene. His voice, equal parts raw feeling and elegance, exudes confidence and charm—disarming packed rooms of rowdy concert goers, leaving them silent as they hold fast to every syllable sung.
Plans for the album were struck just months before the COVID 19 pandemic shut the world down. Notwithstanding, Jalen eventually made it to Hive Mind Studios in Brooklyn, NY where he began writing and recording with the help of producer/arrangers Mike Buckley and Vincent Chiarito (both members of Charles Bradley's Extraordinaires) and a crack team of a-list musicians from the Daptone family. The team skilfully blends heavy arrangements and introspective lyrics with Motown sophistication, leaving the listener in a blissful wash of wonderment.
Jalen has been writing songs since he was 14, and his compositions are also very much of these times. He explains, “I love music from the 20th century— I listen to it all the time, but I'm in this world and the 21st century. ...to a stranger, I'd describe my music as modern soul and R&B, while trying to ft in the Beach Boys and the Beatles somewhere in between.” ‘Come Around and Love Me’ reveals how he creates a classic approach that is rooted in the sounds of revered pioneers, without falling into imitation–leaving no doubt that Jalen will continue to shine within the superlative, timeless musical tradition that is Daptone's hallmark.
STAFF COMMENTSLaura says:
Born and raised on the East Coast of the USA, just outside Washington DC and now resident in Liverpool, Jalen Ngonda’s debut album is released on Daptone, which is reason enough to take note - let’s face it, they rarely put a foot wrong do they? The album kicks off with the title track “Come Around And Love Me”, that brings to mind ‘What’s Going On’ era Marvin, and then runs through a collection of pristine 2-3 minute gems that perfectly capture the golden era of soul, from the mid 60s to mid 70s.
Jalen is the real deal, with a voice that ranges from raw soul power to sweet falsetto, and songwriting skills to match. There isn’t a bad track here, in fact pretty much every song could be a single in its own right. You can pick out a whole host of influences, from the aforementioned Marvin Gaye, to the psychedelic soul of Isaac Hayes, the Motor City sound of The Four Tops and sweet harmonies of The Temptation but there’s a fresh modern feel to the production too, it’s not some tired pastiche. I guess if you’re looking for a contemporary comparison, Michael Kiwanuka springs to mind in the way that he fuses the old and new so seamlessly. So to sum up, if you’re a fan of modern soul, full of romance and heartbreak and infused with classic Motown and Philly Soul ingredients, then this is for you.
1. Come Around And Love Me
2. If You Donʼt Want My Love
4. Thatʼs All I Wanted From You
5. Please Show Me
6. Just Like You Used To
7. What A Difference She Made
8. Give Me Another Day
9. So Glad I Found You
10. It Takes A Fool