Richardson Carves Out Niche At Hollywood

Excerpted from the magazine for

Calvin Richardson finds himself in the enviable position of opening act on Nelly's upcoming national tour.

With that nod, the singer/songwriter aims to leave a career-building impression while promoting his Hollywood Records debut, "2:35 PM."

Richardson signed with Hollywood, a label not generally associated with R&B/ hip-hop artists, in December 2001. Despite Hollywood's black music track record, he describes the new affiliation as more "advantage versus disadvantage. Before this, I was limited in terms of control and direction. I took the lead and set the pace on this album. I wasn't pushed in different directions like a crash-test dummy."

Richardson is a veteran in the business. The Monroe, N.C., native created the group Undercover, which appeared on the 1995 film soundtrack "New Jersey Drive." And, in 1999, Richardson's Universal Records solo debut, "Country Boy," met with mild success.

Richardson has since guested and/or co-wrote songs on albums by Pieces Of A Dream, Cobra and Raphael Saadiq, and he produced and wrote the majority of his new album.

Saadiq is a guest producer on "2:35 PM," named for the time when Richardson's son, Souljah, was born. Among the album's other guests are producers the Underdogs, Mike City and Eddie F. and Darren Lighty.

The latter duo produced the solo version of the Richardson-penned "2:35 PM" cut "More Than a Woman." Richardson initially performed the song as a duet with Angie Stone on her "Mahogany Soul" album.

Exuding old-school soul with a contemporary bent, Richardson calls to mind a young Bobby Womack or Sam Cooke. That description especially holds on the album's lead single, "Keep on Pushin'." A video for the single was directed by Sylvian White.

While gearing up for the release of "2:35 PM," Richardson is also working on his joint venture with Hollywood, Reel Soule Records.

"I'm looking to do a lot of alternative things," Richardson says. "Not just R&B and hip-hop. With this album I got the chance to [be] what I really am -- a soul singer."

Excerpted from the June 28, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Premium Services section.

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