Eighteen year old sensation Reed Shannon is nothing short of “prodigal talent.” Gracing the big screen on multiple TV shows and films, he is not shy of the limelight. However, he debuts a different side of him with debut EP “Soul Play.” Composed of 7 tracks, it’s in style of Usher’s classic album “Confessions.” Reed want to bring back meaningful R&B back, “This is an R&B project further introducing the world to the new era of iconic art. The new generation is here and we’re bringing the soul back,” he said.
The first thing that caught my eye is the unique artwork. Drake and Usher “vibes” can be portrayed through the artwork style. According to Reed, “when we were thinking of artwork and the messaging behind it…. Me and my A&R, Grammy Award Winning Record Executive Amir Windom wanted something that represented simplicity. With the world being so fast paced, everyone is glued to their phones and social media ruling perspective. I think movement, traveling and simplicity evoke people’s imagination. I wanted some artwork that represented slow motion, peace and movement. Which I think gives the soul time to play and speak to its owner,” which gives an interesting perspective on his project.
The conversation we held between us about his project, really gave me different perspective about the piece. According to him, “The project was based off his first love.”
“Soul Play is an extension of my personality! With all of the moving pieces in this project, it was amazing to see it all come together and it means so much I’m even blessed to speak to you about it,” he said with joy. It made me pause a bit. So much love and humility is beaming from this young man. “Mercy,” is the first song in the project we got in depth in. “Mercy to the music, love, her soul etc…. When you’re in a relationship you are at the ‘mercy’ of each other,” Shannon stated emphatically. Relationships have ups and downs so you’re also at the mercy of each other vendetta(s).
A Prince and Usher feel came about from the first listen, being that those two influenced him greatly along with Chris Brown, Whitney Houston, and other legends, it all makes sense. “Connect is the connection between me and my girl found in each other or in some cases the connection two loves have falters,” Reed stated. Connect is a clever intro to the next rack, it has a bit of duality in its meaning. The track “Kind Of Art” keys reference to the art of not only sing making but relationships as a whole. Love is a canvas in which emotions are painted the way the two soul bond and Reed vocal portrays that very well. He complimented Annamaria, who he worked with on the track, “as soon as we hit the studio me and her were so organic and magical! She’s dope for sure.”
“Don’t feel The Same,” is a tale of unrequited love in which, not only the two loves feel like each person is not giving the same effort, the love they once had is fading. “In a relationship, you have to keep things fresh and honest in order to succeed,” he said and paused then continued, “be transparent with each other and grow genuinely. “Peace2ego” is a song which illustrates the narrative of humbling your ego to allow somebody to love you. According to Reed, “love can only occur when you’re open enough to love each other.” “It Girl” is about a woman who swoons the eyes of Reed and he emphatically wants her bad.
Overall, “Soul Play” is a brilliant combination of youthful bliss and classic R&B gist. Brilliant writing, real life reliability, and creative genius are marked through the project. It was a unexpected twist for a known actor to come through with a amazing music project but Reed had some words that put everything in perspective.
I think with my success in the other arenas of entertainment, it pushed me to make the best music possible for that moment in time. I was motivated every time I went into the studio to give my all to the record that each one called for so that whoever would end up listening to it would be able to really feel what I was feeling. It also helped me grow as a person because I was able to freely express myself doing the things I love to do all at the same time. – Reed On Expansion Into Music
To summarize my perspective on the project, we give it a:
Impact: A prominent figure in Gen Z, Reed Bonded multiple generation with the sound the project gives off.
Cohesion: Every track fit well together, only it’s too short.
Delivery Of Message: A overall solid message about the impact of good and bad relationships .
Originality: Not original but effective.
Artistry: Beautiful and creative work.
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