Gordon Chambers | Sincere


Gordon Chambers | Sincere
By Peggy Oliver

Sometimes there are hidden gems among those songwriting geniuses whose labor of love has crafted hits for urban music icons. Stars like Anita Baker, Whitney Houston and The Isley Brothers are more than acquainted with Gordon Chambers, whose heartfelt and on-point lyrics have graced the charts for many years. Just an ever so small taste of his songwriting credits include the Grammy winning “I Apologize,” by Ms. Baker, Whitney’s “My Love,” The Isley’s “Just Came Here to Chill” plus the smash hit “If You Love Me” by Brownstone. He credits his mature songwriting abilities from years of experience with producers like David Foster, Barry Eastmond (Billy Ocean, Mike Howard & Baker) and L.A. Reid — who signed Chambers to his publishing company HITCO that housed many R&B elite songwriters. But this gentleman can blow as well; possessing a pure, effortless tenor voice that recalls smooth balladeers like Brian McKnight. His extensive resume of adult contemporary hits speaks for itself. Yet in 2004, Chambers started establishing his own fan base who constantly craved authentic love tales anchored with sophisticated orchestration through two solo independent projects from his Chamber Music moniker: Introducing Gordon Chambers (2005) – co-produced by Eastmond and Love Stories – both co-produced by Eastmond. Introducing presented a pleasing variety mix of Motown, pop and Chambers’ jazzy approach to “I Apologize.” Chambers never lost a beat heading into his sophomore disc from 2007, Love Stories, that featured a killer duet with neo-soul stylist Ledisi – “To Love Again” — and his interpretation of “If You Love Me.” He also toured extensively for several years including an appearance at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans in 2005.

After a four-year absence, Chambers returns to the studio after with Sincere; his most personal and absolute best work to date. Though Sincere mostly leans on edgier orchestrations via a new generation of R&B producers such as Darien Dorsey and The BeatBanggahz, Chamber’s musical integrity of intriguing storytelling backed with classy vocals and orchestrations are never overshadowed. Sincere begins on an up-tempo note with “In the Band,” driven by catchy keyboards and drum tracks and the ever familiar tale about a musician trying to balance romance in his life. The title track addresses the men and women’s relationship point of view. “Moody Love” spins the roller coaster ride of love: “You laugh/You cry/But when I ask you/You never say why.” The truth can surely be told as the case of the first single, “I Can’t Love You (If You Don’t Love You)”; a lesson that needs to be taught frequently regarding holding one’s own self-esteem.

Though Chambers has plenty of pleasing originals on Sincere, he is no slouch when it comes to time tested material. Paying special tribute to his favorite musical decade, the unplugged arrangement of “A Song for You” composed by Leon Russell is decorated with Chambers’ caressing voice and the climatic gospel-tinged chants of “we were alone.” Joined in duet by Sara Devine, a joyous, spontaneous rendering of Thomas Whitfield’s “Walk with Me Lord” from the Blue Note in New York reflects Chambers’ respect for a contemporary gospel pioneer. And once again, Chambers reaches into his songbook — this time being “Missing You,” originally performed by the superstar female vocal band of Gladys, Chaka, Brandy and Tamia from the 1996 soundtrack of Set it Off. This track generates a powerful relevance for Chambers as he honors lost R&B treasures (and mentors) Gerald Levert and Phyllis Hyman.

To excuse the pun, Sincere is sincerely one of the best R&B recordings of the year. From a beloved songwriter to a sweet vocal stylist, Chambers should not be overlooked as one of urban music’s stellar talents of the past two decades.

Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene