Kingsley Ray - 'Crushin'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we delve into the music of Kingsley Ray. After a short hiatus, the Virginia-native is back in force with an upcoming self-titled record. ‘Crushin’ is the first single to drop from that upcoming collection. The eclectic, sharply produced tune was produced and co-arranged by Phillip Rollins, a rising producer and songwriter. Will Kingsley Ray’s eponymous new album be worth checking out? Let’s dig into the single to find out.

Ray specifies that the song began as a poem years ago. It’s adequately titled, because the track deals with having a ‘crush’ on someone else. His lyricism is interesting, essentially remarking that the girl in question is probably better as a crush. You can’t be let down by a relationship or person if you never fully act on your feelings. We’ve all been there. I actually really dig this subject matter; Ray’s delivery doesn’t come off as campy or cliche. It feels honest and witty.

On the production end, Rollins does the song justice. I can’t get enough of those smooth, badass organ pieces. The instrumentation feels reserved, elegantly mashing synthesizers, slick beats, and that fantastic organ together. The song never quite explodes like you may expect, which is surprisingly refreshing. It’s easy-going and incredibly polished.

‘Crushin’ is a killer track that’ll be most welcome on your summer playlist. It’s infectiously catchy, suave as can be, and well-performed. It’s a pop track with R&B influence that really makes it feel unique and worth listening to. Since there are two self-proclaimed songwriters on the project, however, I would like to see the full album include some more meaningful lyricism. The ability to write a pop song and a hook is one that’s often overlooked: that takes serious talent. I have a feeling Ray and Rollins could pump out something with a lot of depth, too. We’ll have to wait and see, but for now, it’s an album worth keeping on your radar this season.

Listen to the track and connect with Kingsley Ray: