glENN LEWIs World Outside My Window (Epic) Rating: NNNN
Glenn Lewis isn't the vengeful type, but it's clear he'd love to put a few calls in to some of the people who ignored him for years now that he's on top.
You can't blame him. The Toronto R&B crooner spent years here banging his head against the wall trying to break into the Canadian music industry and only ended up with a headache. After dropping a few independent singles with no industry support, Lewis relocated to Philadelphia and promptly was awarded with a deal with Epic.
"I knew that the Canadian industry doesn't care what's happening in soul music," Lewis confirms from Paris, "so any way you slice it, I had to leave.
"I'd walk into the offices of BMG and see a two-times-platinum record for R. Kelly on the wall, yet these people weren't interested in what's going on in their own backyard. What's stopping myself or Carlos Morgan or Wade O. Brown from doing the same thing and making a living back home? We don't even get a shot."
Lewis's lush new World Outside My Window disc is now the R&B record of the moment. The singer nailed the opening slot on Alicia Keys's sold-out tour, got the nod from folks like Stevie Wonder and has seen his Don't You Forget It single sail up the charts.
Ever the modest Canadian, Lewis isn't the type to brag about what's happened so far. Still, you know he looks at this as payback time.
"It's hilarious, because it hasn't even been a year since I signed my deal and yet all these things have happened. I don't have to say anything, because I know the people who wouldn't call me back are seeing and hearing it."
World Outside My Window is anything but a low-budget record, boasting a rootsy groove that comes off as a mix between the slick R&B pop of R. Kelly and the new-school soul of D'Angelo.
"We're all very respectful of soul music and its traditions," Lewis reasons. "The music of the 70s is incredibly crafted, and we kept that all in mind for the record.
" At the same time, though, I'm a hiphop kid from Toronto, so I have to incorporate that thump as well."