The human voice is truly a magnificent, crafty instrument. With just a few notes sung, a certain kind of voice can either soothe the soul or stir you to action. With a bit of practice, a voice can hit celestial, beautiful high notes or gravelly, rumbling low notes. A voice can convey alarm or confidence in its tone and can identify a person in just a few syllables.
Blind Nigerian American soul singer Blessing Offor has the sort of unique, expressive voice that impressed the judges on the talent show "The Voice" and just begs to be given a selection of songs that make use of his wonderful gift. With a tone that brings to mind such musical luminaries as Bill Withers ("Lean On Me", "Just The Two Of Us") and John Legend ("Ordinary People"), Offor has already sung with notable artists like Chris Tomlin and is rapidly making inroads with both his unique backstory (it's worth looking up online) and his mature songwriting.
His first formal outing of songs, the Brighter Days EP is a smooth, yet stately batch of tunes that nimbly feature Offor's voice against a fine selection of melodies. Opening track "Tin Roof" is a gentle, surprisingly down-beat ode to Offor's childhood in Nigeria but builds in a Gospel music style that finds Offor hitting a few select falsetto notes that add a pinch of spice to a mellow, moving affair. Second song "Little Bird" continues the Sunday morning feeling with a great set of metaphorical lyrics sung from the Lord's perspective: "I don't want the colors that you're flashin' / I know that's what everybody sees / Freedom all alone well that's a way to never show / Anybody what's really underneath / No little bird that ain't what it means / Freedom all alone well that's a cage all its own / Yeah freedom on your own ain't really free / No little bird won't you come on down to me."
The title track is the powerhouse moment of this set of songs, and is the sort of widely appealing thematic song that is sure to find a broad audience in these troubled times we find ourselves in. Though the "brighter days" theme is perhaps overdone in popular music over the years, there will always be a need and hunger for uplifting songs, and Blessing Offor sings this encouraging, tuneful song with a conviction that is moving. Against the current backdrop of war and pandemic, "Brighter Days" is a song that hits a bit harder than it might otherwise.
The remaining songs on the EP are perhaps a step down from that dynamo song, but each brings a new angle to the artist. The best of this bunch is closing tune "Love Something," which has a nice "Broadway musical closing number" feel and ends this first outing on a poignant note. Blessing Offor has a unique voice and story, and his expressive vocal delivery raises any song he sings to another level. He is the sort of artist that could sing the phone book (as the old rock and roll critic cliché' goes) and still have it move you.- Review date: 2/27/22, written by Alex Caldwell of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Sparrow Records / Bowyer & Bow / Capitol CMG
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