Rod Clemmons is a multi-talented R&B and Neo Soul artist from New York. In addition to being a writer and performer, Rod is a producer and the founder of Verdict Records. Totally blind since birth, Rod has developed a keen ear through years of training and practice. He started his musical training at the age of 4, studying classical piano. His debut album release, “What’s Up? It’s Me”, is Rod’s first album as an artist. The 11-track album featuring the cover of James Taylor’s “Carolina On My Mind”, is a display of Rod’s passion for music. Switching between crooning serenades and an effortless mid-tempo grooves, Rod Clemmons is delivering his version of love songs in a variety of dynamic ways.
Taking charge and pulling at the heartstrings, the opening track “What’s Up? It’s Me” and “Whats My Name? What’s Your Name? build slow, milking every beat, enhancing a somber atmosphere to deeply serenade and draw you into his every word. Such tracks are the ones that resonate in particular, as each line is sung with such passion and emotion, they’re the forerunners, encapsulating the tender power of Rod Clemmons. While other tunes dial up the emotion a touch, and play with a catchy melody too, like the ballads, “What The Hell Do You Mean” and “She’s My Girl”.
Grooving on a different spectrum completely, the up-tempo track with slick riffs, “I Love My Music”, takes deep, pulsing beats to turn out a track full of funky vibes. And of course, the unexpected “Crazy Love Stories” plays on a similar effect with its funky electric rhythm and energizing verses.
It’s stylistically different to the core content of the album, but it embodies such an effortless vibrancy that it’s almost impossible not to bop and groove along. With each track being groovier than the last, Rod Clemmons proves that everything develops better with time.
A real standout is the cover of the vintage James Taylor track, “Carolina On My Mind”. Backed by a keyboard laced production, and colored by an acoustic guitar, Rod gently harmonizes his way through the arrangement.
Avoiding the temptation to latch on to trendy production was a smart idea, and the live instrumentation utilized throughout the album gives it an authentic feel. Rod has proven here that he is a master songwriter. Almost every song on the album is a positive expression of love that anyone who feels love or has felt love can surely relate to.
And he leaves the best of the batch for last with “Unbelievable Love” and “That’s What Love Is”, where he also forges his most powerful vocal performance. On this album, Rod Clemmons has brought together a collection of songs which bask in melodical and lyrical excellence.
The 11-track album wastes no time in charming the ear, with Rod crooning passion-filled lyrics accompanied by a dominating acoustic guitar and a set of standard organic instruments. “What’s Up? It’s Me” is a step in the right direction for any artist wanting to acquaint the music scene with authentic R&B sounds that are well-equipped to enchant the listener.
More About Rod Clemmons: On a full scholarship, Rod attended the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington Indiana and later graduated with honors from I.U. Clemmons. A fixture in Louisville, KY clubs as an R&B keyboard player and singer, Rod started to develop his signature sound that led him to start Verdict Records. As a producer, Rod has worked in diverse sounds such as contemporary Gospel, contemporary country, pop/rock, children’s music, and R&B.