The reasons why I have to review Bay Area singer Jeremy Passion’s Pixelated EP and For More Than A Feeling full-length album are numerous. Let’s backtrack four and a half years to when a young singer-songwriter from San Francisco posted his first ever video on a relatively new website of an original song, “Mrs. Intuition.” With sultry vocals and effortless guitar strumming, Passion blasted into our generation’s newest underground music scene, known as YouTube. As of today, Passion’s acoustic soul covers and own material offered on his YouTube channel have garnered an astounding twenty-five million views. I’m inducting him into the inaugural class of YouTube sensations.
My own introduction to Passion was facilitated by one of my friends, who as a fellow R&B aficionado pointed me to Passion’s medley of Trey Songz’s “Can’t Help But Wait and Ne-Yo’s “So Sick.” What a voice, was my first impression. Since then I have followed along as Passion has put out fantastic covers of some of my favorite R&B tracks, including tunes from artists like Musiq Soulchild, John Legend, Destiny’s Child, and Drake. In the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered if his YouTube covers were enough in and of themselves, if putting up videos was the be-all, end-all for this talented musician. You can thus imagine my excitement when Passion announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund his brand new full-length album and the Pixelated EP. While Passion follows through on his promise to deliver authentic music with a message, I find myself unsatisfied with the results.
For More Than A Feeling begins with a gospel-flavored introductory song, Greater Is He. “Lord, I give you my heart, my mind, and my soul,” Passion sings, before jumping into a brief scat solo. The upbeat energy of the guitar and keyboard hits carry the tune, along with several brief rhythmic embellishes, but otherwise the song falls flat. Passion never hid his spirituality, but the songs he covered over the years were not indicative of the degree to which religious beliefs defined him.
“Trace” and “32” float along as uplifting tributes to love and family, again staying true to the artist’s own mission statement. Finally on the next three tracks, “Survive,” “This Ain’t The Way,” and again on “I Don’t Care,” Passion delivers the R&B tunes I have been waiting for. Passion’s best asset has in my mind always been his voice. The man can flat out sing, and this comes to light over the course of the album. More than anything, For More Than A Feeling reveals Passion’s diverse compositional tastes and should appeal to a wide audience. Unfortunately for me, the album under-represents the R&B side of his identity.
The same can be said for his Pixelated EP, in which Passion delivers two new tunes, an acoustic version of “I Don’t Care,” and re-recordings of two old originals “Oh Vienna” and “As Long As You Wait For Me.” Both albums feature the desired level of sound production. The vocals are well mixed and the instrumentation crisp. Passion’s lyrics are very personal and I hope he continues to tell his story now that he’s published his first albums.