BORN in Toronto but raised in South Florida by Jamaican parents, singer JR Evan says his sound is a reflection of his diverse upbringing. A lot of soul with an island feel.
Evan, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, recently released his first song, I Thank You. It is produced by Jason 'J Vibes' Palmer, the man behind songs by Ky-Mani Marley and other top South Florida artistes.
"It's got a mellow vibe, it's a cool song," said Evan in an interview with the Jamaica Observer. "A lot of songs you hear nowadays it's really gimmicks, but this has a real beat people can groove to."
While I Thank You is his first official release, the 23-year-old Evan says he has been recording for the last five years with J Vibes. He also keeps active on the concert circuit, appearing on the recent Reggae Meets R&B show in Miami.
That event featured reggae great Ken Boothe and soul legends Dorothy Moore and Millie Jackson, performers Evan's Kingston-born parents listened to during the 1960s and 1970s.
"I'm big into old school...My dad listened to Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder. That kinda music really moves me," he said.
Evan's career is guided by Luther 'Luther Mack' McKenzie, a veteran of the South Florida music scene. McKenzie was once part of the influential Shang organisation which worked with Shabba Ranks, Patra, Mad Cobra and Ky-Mani Marley.
I Thank You is one of several songs he has in the can for an album expected to be released in 2013.
— Howard Campbell