As someone who is predominantly interested in writing about electronic music, I get sent quite a lot of R&B / pop crossover submissions. I do also like to hear about emerging singer-songwriter talents so, if these words appear on a press release, I am more inclined to check out the music. LA-based alt-pop R&B artist Hariz was described to me as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. I liked the fact that he was most recently the recipient of the 2016 ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Award in Pop music and this plaudit indicated that he must have something a bit special about him.
The proof was always going to come through in the music and not PR spin! Hariz only has two singles to his name, his second track “Does It Hurt” has only just, released. I thought to myself, if he was, awarded this kind of glowing recognition on the back of his debut alone, he really must have a naturally gifted talent. Inside, I was hoping that I’d hear something distinctive that would stir me into action to write about him.
Hariz had me gripped, in seconds. I wouldn’t refer to his vocals as being R&B heavy myself, as I hear more of a pop sensibility coming through on “Does It Hurt“. The self-assured command and vocal prowess aren’t up for debate, Justin Hariz has serious, vocal chops, a powerful dynamic range to die for and a captivating presence which really, stops you in your tracks. The 20-year-old L.A. up-and-comer won me over in the matter of words that prettily came tumbling out of his mouth. I didn’t even need to wait out until the intense build and climax of the power, chorus.
As introductions “Ovrbrd” and “Does It Hurt“, are wonderfully accomplished pieces which do a great job at bringing a potential pop star in the making to our attention, who clearly, strives for nothing less than excellence in all they do. I feel confident a lot of online-buzz isn’t far off. I’m looking forward to hearing what he comes up with next.