Canada is known for many things, but R&B music isn't one of them. To that end, when listeners hear Remy Shand -- one of Winnipeg's native sons -- they might be taken aback. He brings his soulful s

Canada is known for many things, but R&B music isn't one of them. To that end, when listeners hear Remy Shand -- one of Winnipeg's native sons -- they might be taken aback. He brings his soulful sound to the U.S. on "The Way I Feel," released March 19 via Motown.

Shand's parents introduced the singer/songwriter to soul music at an early age. His father, a construction worker, salvaged a crate of classic albums from a club his crew was remodeling. Through the find, Shand became a fan of acts like Marvin Gaye, the Isley Brothers, Steely Dan, and Stevie Wonder, among others. This early "education" sparked the artist's love for music.

After briefly dabbling in jazz, Shand began penning the songs featured on "The Way I Feel" at the age of 19. Although he had the material, Shand wasn't sure that anyone would ever hear it because of his location.

"I wanted to be a producer first, but coming from Winnipeg I couldn't find anyone to sing my songs who was into soul music," says Shand. "So I put my best foot forward, grabbed my Earth, Wind & Fire record and said, 'That's my range.' I could do the falsetto like Philip Bailey. So I began studying the vocal stuff just like I studied the bass guitar and everything else."

He wrote and produced all 11 tracks on "The Way I Feel." As a result, the tempo on the album is pretty consistent. "It doesn't get into dancefloor territory, which is funny because, growing up, I would always skip the slow songs because I wanted to hear the fast tracks," he says. "My mom was laughing at me, because when I finished the record, she said, 'For a guy who loves party jams, you've got a slow record.'"

Shand says of his need to record the album by himself, "I'll always be grounded, because I was right there through the making of it; there were no politics during the making of it."

"Take a Message" is the album's lead single, while other album highlights include "The Mind's Eye," which Shand describes as "kind of a half and half. It has vocals on the first half, and it is instrumental on the second half-where it goes into a guitar jam. It's a cross between Al Jarreau and Steely Dan."

Shand describes "The Colour of Day," another strong moment on the set, as his "experimenting with the Stax sound and really studying [soul artist/producer] Willie Mitchell."

"The Way I Feel" debuts this week at No. 15 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and No. 39 on The Billboard 200.





Excerpted from the March 23, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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