Donell Jones had already made a name for himself, writing for the likes of Usher, Jade, and Madonna, when his debut album My Heart hit stores in the summer of 1996. Jones’s debut featured the hit singles “In The Hood,” “You Should Know,” and his cover of the timeless Stevie Wonder classic “Knocks Me Off My Feet.” Furthermore, two of the album tracks, the slow jams “No Interruptions” and “I Want You To Know,” are better songs than some folk’s entire discographies that entered the music game in the last twenty years.
Flashback Friday Album: Jesse Powell, Bout It with Special Guest Vocalz Iz
Having previously revisited the late great Jesse Powell’s first, third and fourth albums, I wanted to bring on a music head to discuss Powell’s second album, Bout It. Arriving in stores on September 8, 1998, Powell’s sophomore album featured the hit song “You”. While R&B fans first heard the song on Powell’s debut, it was officially a single on this album. “I Wasn’t with It”, “and “‘Bout It, ‘Bout It” were the other two singles from the album. I’ve always thought this was a solid album, the label just didn’t Mr. Powell the right push. Read on to hear my homie Vocalz’s thoughts.
Reviews & Dunn – What was your reaction when you heard Jesse Powell was dropping a new album?
Vocalz Iz – Jesse was a singer’s singer. So hearing that he was about to drop new material would be exciting news. Being that the song “Gloria”, was such a popular record and the “Enchantment Medley” amazing album cut, I was really excited when the teasers and promos for the new album dropped. Having “YOU” on the debut but not as a single from that 1st album was such a teaser. Jesse had already positioned himself as one of the best singers in the game and anticipation was high.
Reviews & Dunn – Rodney Jerkins laced Mr. Powell with three songs for Bout It. Those songs were “Up & Down,” “She Wasn’t Last Night,” ” and Are U Missing My Love”. Which one was your favorite?
Vocalz Iz – Wow, this was a tough one, and it is very close for me. Considering he produced them all, they were unique and enjoyable in their own way. I would say “Are you missing my love” by a hair over “Up and Down”. It was so groovy and smooth. It just flowed so effortlessly, and Jesse was singing on that song.
Reviews & Dunn – The biggest hit from Mr. Powell’s second album was “You.” Rodney Jerkins did an often forgotten remix of the song, but if you were doing A&R and had to place Jesse with a duet partner on the song, who do you think would best fit?
Vocalz Iz – Very interesting question. Jesse’s had a high range, so thinking either someone to match that or contrast that is the dilemma, also finding someone popular at the time. For a contrasting voice I would say Kelly Price or Deborah Cox, and for someone similar I would say Chante’ Moore. MY preference would be Chante’ Moore.
Reviews & Dunn – Speaking of remixes, Sauce Money was on the remix to “I Wasn’t With It”. Do you think if the remix had Jay-Z or someone from Cash Money, the song would have more success??
Vocalz Iz – Interesting question. Jay-Z would have fit the vibe of the song better, as it had more of an east coast flavor, I am assuming due to Pete Rock’s influence, plus Jay was on fire at the time, 2 platinum records and about to drop a 3rd, and R&B/Hip Hop collaborations were getting popular at that time, so Jay may have helped it be a single and have some success.
Reviews & Dunn – You were actually blessed to hear Jesse sing LIVE what do you remember about that?
Vocalz Iz– Jesse’s voice was so clean. You never heard any imperfections. Usually as a singer that is a goal to be perfect. His was. Every note was clear, on pitch, and what surprised me the most was his power. At one point he moved away from the microphone during the performance of “Something in the Past” from the JP album and you could still hear it clear as day. The crowd went wild.
Reviews & Dunn – Finally, what songs from the album do you still have in rotation?
Vocalz Iz – This was overall a very nice album full of great album cuts. I keep “You”, “She Wasn’t Last Night” and “Are You Missing My Love” in rotation.
Final Grade: B+
Vocalz Iz’s 2007 debut album Relationship Gumbo Redux is available on all streaming platforms.
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