With the rise of Disclosure, constant collaborator Sam Smith, and a general deep house resurgence, 2012 and 2013 have been particularly good years for soulful vocalists. While they aren’t necessarily dominating the popular sphere, singers like Florence Welch and Jessie Ware have proven that vocals with grit and real feeling have a definite place in pop–even the likes of a Sampha popping up on Drake’s “The Motion” speaks to a shift in the sorts of vocalists the marketplace is ready for and, ultimately, demands (when conversations begin to shift from “wouldn’t it be cool if we get X & Y” to “we need X & Y”).
From the moment he opens his mouth on “All Lies,” it’s evident that London’s Sid Batham has the type of voice that fits perfectly into this context, powerful and emotive, controlled but capable of explosion. Channeling George Michael at his most popular (and, in turn, most soulful), Batham crafts something in “All Lies” that stands at the crossroads of pop and R&B, careening across a sound popularized in the 80s, here given a modern sheen. Like some of his countrymen, Batham could readily deliver a ballad or a dance track with the same flare and gusto that he gives to his performance on “All Lies,” a satisfying introductory window into a promising talent.