Kingsley Ray is a singer and songwriter hailing from Richmond, VA and honed his skills playing in a group whilst also studying recording, engineering and stage acting. This song, Crushin’, is the first single from Kingsley’s eponymous debut album. It was produced by the up-and-coming writer/producer Phillip Rollins and written by Kingsley himself. He explains that the song began life as a poem about someone he had a crush on, but decided not to try and develop that relationship: “Sometimes you just don’t want to be let down, literally or figuratively, by expectations“.
Crushin’ is a pop/RnB track with a laid back tempo and summery vibe in the style of artists like Usher and Justin Timberlake. It starts with smoky, overdriven Rhodes and hi hat before a simple, but very funky, RnB beat develops. A sparse, rhythmic bassline and Hammond organ fill out the sound but the focus is all on Kingsley’s dynamic vocals, which he layers with multiple harmonies on certain lines.
His vocal abilities are every bit the equal of the currently successful male vocalists, but a great voice will only get you so far. Fortunately, Kingsley has a talent for writing a catchy hook and you’ll soon find yourself humming along to the chorus: “Baby girl, your eyes met mine but I’m not changing lanes, possibly could get to know you but that won’t be the same…”. The breakdown a-capella chorus towards the end allows the harmonies to shine, before the beat kicks back in and we hear the hook one last time.
Overall, this is a classy and memorable debut single from an artist who already sounds like a master of his craft, both vocally and as a songwriter. The chilled out vibe makes it a perfect song for the summer and you can imagine it doing very well on radio, owing to its polished, commercial sound and first class production.
Verdict: 8.5 out of 10