Nowadays, there are so many singing competitions airing on TV and broadcasting all over the world. Too, many in number for me to possibly keep up with. I gave up, trying to up to keep up to speed even with the biggest franchises, like Idol and The Voice, a long time ago. Understandably, therefore, I haven’t been aware of Clark Beckham (runner-up, and contestant from Season 14 of American Idol.) Until being alerted to the singer, songwriter and musician’s debut album, “Light Year” which has just dropped. That said, and given Clark’s Idol credentials, it seemed, an obvious choice of new, release to check out.

Usually, I have an idea of what an album or track will sound like before I get to take my first listen. This was not the case with “Light Year.” Although I had certain expectations, I knew absolutely nothing about Clark’s American Idol journey or even the style or direction his music is taking. For once, this was a complete blind listen. A striking one at that. Which introduced me to a velvety soulful voice and a beautiful collection of tracks with narratives written in a most genuine heartfelt way. Tapping powerful, feelings and emotions. Beckham’s prowess as a multi-talent is openly on display, and artistic integrity is high on the list of priorities. Clark has several writing credits on the album and also earns a few mentions for production duties. Which is unusual for most acts who have come to prominence out of TV shows.

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The track “Run Away” though, is in a class of its own. The vocal performance is one of massive emotional dynamics, so powerful, strong, all-encompassing. Where it seems like every fibre of his being is being poured into the performance, not just audio the visual as well. The track has peaceful moments, also, these act almost like a pause button being sprung into action. The opportunity to take a momentary, breath in among the heightened emotions of such highly soul-stirring narratives.

Because of the album’s fusion style, everyone can find something to connect with here. Although the vibe is predominantly soulful, by contrast, tracks like “Forever,” and “Know Me” are likeliest to have pop lovers on board. As they are a touch lighter melodically and have delicate modern, sonic resonance and pop sensibilities.

It’s not always the series winners of reality music shows who go on to have the longest careers in music or the most impactful. Clark Beckham had the blaze of public adoration throughout his American Idol journey. With the right attention, the debut album “Light Year” should spiral his music career higher still.

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