A child of music industry veterans, Cleveland, Ohio native Durand Bernarr has carved out an “anti-industry” niche as an in-demand singer (touring with the likes of the legendary Erykah Badu) and burgeoning songwriter.
On his newest single “Around,” from his new Sound Check EP, Durand’s supple tenor dances over a burbling bass line and pleasant beat that harkens back to the halcyon days of neo-soul’s infancy. There are subtle shades of trap here, a touch of jazz there, the unmistakable scent of straight ahead R&B at every turn as “Around” slinks along. Durand effortlessly ties the disparate parts together with an absolute control of his instrument.
“Around” is obviously crafted to showcase Durand’s vocal gifts, and for that we can deduct no points, since his voice is immaculate — well-trained, full and confident. There’s a hint of Usher here, or of Rudy Currence even. Durand leaps at every opportunity to sneak in a challenging jazz scale or church run to remind the listener that he’s doing enough to impress, while still holding back the full force of his skill.
Overall, “Around” is a vehicle to showcase a true talent that checks the boxes of what a good R&B song should be. With time, it will be a pleasure to see exactly who Durand Bernarr will be as he definitively comes into his own. Download Durand Bernarr’s Sound Check on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play or give it a spin on Spotify.