Ryan Shaw | Real Love

Ryan Shaw - Real Love

Ryan Shaw | Real Love
Bu Susan Mutharia

When he started singing in the church choir at the age of 5, Ryan Shaw may not have understood the full potential of the seed he was sowing. The Decatur, Georgia native did not listen to secular music growing up so his influences were all deeply rooted in Gospel. In 1998 when the seed was budding, Shaw joined the cast of Tyler Perry’s stage play ‘I Know I Have Been Changed’. His journey after that is a combination of hard work and divine connections. Now the seed has blossomed into a two-time Grammy nominated singer that can undoubtedly engrave his name next to great soul singers like Raphael Saadiq, Lenny Kravitz, Anthony Hamilton and even Sam Cooke.

In 2008, Ryan Shaw released his debut album This Is Ryan Shaw winning him accolades and earning him a Grammy nomination in the category Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for the song “I Am Your Man.” Now after hard work alongside his production team that comprises of producer/musician/songwriter Jimmy Bralower (his credits include Peter Gabriel, Madonna, and Cyndi Lauper among others) and music veteran Johnny Gale (Ronnie Spector), Shaw is releasing his anticipated sophomore album, Real Love.

The twelve-track album explores different faucets of love – from one faucet pours the spiritual kind of love, from the other an emotional kind with personal convictions. They all blend to capture the sultry and energizing voice of Shaw.

The album begins with the track “Real Love,” an up-tempo song that introduces us to his definition of real love. Next is a song with a gospel feel “Karina” with a sound that fits the `70s soul time capsule. The fourth track, “You Don’t Know Nothing About Love,” is one of the most ‘hauntingly beautiful’ songs of the album. Shaw’s voice in this rendition of the Jerry Ragovoy song is chilling. He sings it with enough passion and energy yet never loses his composure. While many artists have covered the Beatles’ song “Yesterday,” Shaw has made it his own and still manages to keep the emotion and memory of the beautiful original. Other soulful numbers with a modern flare are “The Wrong Man” which, as the title suggests, is about loving a woman who is in the arms of the wrong man, and “Gone Gone Gone” in which he expresses regret for not putting a ring on the finger of a woman that was worth keeping.

Somewhere in the last two decades, songs stopped having substance and the lyrics were no longer engaging. The majority of listeners could hear what artists were singing but they could not relate. Now there are artists who are rededicating their art to the essence of music where it is not about how many albums they will sell but about lyrics – the sincere art that can only be sung from living or looking through the eyes of other people. This is Ryan Shaw for you.

Real Love is a good album. You will love his voice, you will love the soul, and you will not be ashamed to pass it along to generations before or after you.

To learn more about the artist visit www.thisisryanshaw.com

By Susan Mutharia
The Urban Music Scene