The way Carlton Jumel Smith sees it, he's filling a bit of a void with his first label album, 1634 Lexington Avenue -- whose track "Woman You Made Me" is premiering exclusively below.
"I'm a soul singer, so whatever I sing is gonna be soulful," says the veteran singer, whose album is coming out May 10 as a joint venture between Finland's Timmion Records and Brooklyn's Dap-Tone imprint. "We no longer have Charles Bradley or Sharon Jones, God bless 'em. Lee Fields is great, but I'm more than happy to fill that 'soul man' bill. That's what I'm about."
Smith has made singing his mission since he was eight years old, when he saw James Brown perform at the Apollo Theater. Like Bradley, Jones and Fields he performed in clubs and released independent recordings, earning a reputation that's landed him gigs around the world. He landed the Timmion deal during a three-month residency in Finland, hooking up with the production team Cold Diamond & Mink, writing songs to instrumental tracks it created.