To try to put Atlanta singer Van Hunt into a definitive category of music is a futile mission. He’s influenced by soul, pop, rock, jazz, and others.
The cool thing about his body of work is he blends all the aforementioned styles effortlessly. The Grammy Award winner took some time away from his tour to speak with The Urban Daily about why our readers should buy and/or download his new project, What Were You Hoping For?
Van Hunt shows you exactly who he is on this album.
Often times, artists sign major label deals and are taken aback when they realize the label wants them to be who they aren’t. When drama happens behind the scenes, the struggle between the two parties usually manifests itself in the music. Hunt delivers a self assured album where drama is used as a tool to enhance the overall sound of the album.
His last two efforts were underground classics.
In 2004, Van Hunt released his eponymous debut. Though it stalled at #38 on the R&B Albums chart. Critics and fans alike, praised the album. Steve Jones of USA Today said of Hunt’s debut, “Hunt’s sound may have a retro feel, but his sentiments do not. By not holding to R&B lyrical conventions, he succeeds in giving his songs a fresh twist.” The single, “Dust,” was nominated for the Best Urban/Alternative Performance Grammy in 2005.
His follow up, On The Jungle Floor, hit shelves in 2006. PopMatters’ Matt Cibula closed his review by saying, “At this point, it sounds like a bit of genius, a whole lot of fun, and the album I’m gonna be blasting all summer long.” His track record should at least pique some sort of curiosity in his work.
He considers What Were You Hoping For? the defining moment of his career.
During our conversation, Van Hunt expressed how much this project meant to him. “This album is a defining moment in my career because I got to do exactly what I wanted to do. That’s all an artist can ask for; to be put in a place where I can make the music that feels right to me and have it distributed to the fans exactly the way I envisioned it.”
Although he incorporates rock into his work, he’s a soul man.
When I asked him if he planned on ever doing a solely rock ‘n’ roll album, the Atlanta native communicated that’s not on the horizon for now. “I don’t think I could ever leave behind soul music. It’s the music I grew up with. As far as I’m concerned, classic soul and pop music is the purest form of music. I couldn’t abandon that, even only for one album.”
What Were You Hoping For? is a record to play from start to finish.
Van Hunt is one of those artists who makes albums. He doesn’t record two or three hit singles and pad the rest of the disc with less than stellar filler tracks. This new set is a project where each song compliments the previous one. Though each track has its own personality, everything is cohesive. Hunt describes his album as a soundtrack to a long drive. “This album is what you need to pop into your ride and turn it up and just ride with it. When it’s on, don’t let anybody talk to you and don’t answer the phone. Just be with the music because you’re going to like it.”