Exploding onto the scene this summer, 16 year old Zernell Fontaine, is a triple threat. He can sing, he can dance and he has steely determination. He has all the ingredients to become the next big British R’n’B star.
Growing Pains is the first single from his debut album expected in early 2014. The track was produced by Labrinth’s keyboard player, DetoNate, who has also recently worked with the likes of Conor Maynard and Wretch 32. The single will be available digitally worldwide from August 19.
Zernell grew up listening to classic soul and R’n’B music from artists ranging from Stevie Wonder to The Temptations. And of course his hero, Michael Jackson, who also inspired him to dance.
Although still so young, Zernell has attracted the attention of some of the biggest producers and songwriters in the world. He had the good fortune to record with people behind artists uch as Chris Brown, Usher, Jessie J and Rihanna, making numerous stateside trips to both LA and New York.
Despite infusions of U.S. influence, Zernell is well aware that he is an English artist and considers people like Tinie Tempah and Labrinth as the biggest influences for him.
Zernell says, ‘It’s inspiring to see so much exciting and fresh sounding music coming out of the UK’.
He feels that it’s important to maintain a British authenticity in his music, and it is with some of his UK collaborators that he has found an impressive sound for his first single: Growing Pains.
An engaging, brilliant musician, and a fully-rounded entertainer, Zernell Fontaine is a formidable emerging force to be reckoned with.
We had a listen to Growing Pains. Here’s what we thought:
“They say we’re too young to understand…” He sings. Bringing to mind the painfully real ‘infatuations’ contemplated by Paul Anka in the hit song “Puppy Love” (1960).
Set against the burnt umber of an ashen bass, but with a filigree lacing of tiny flaky filaments, the warm lustrous resonance of Zernell’s voice shines through this piece.
There is some subtle instrumental detail, but the song relies on the strong contrasts between light and dark – evoked by the emotionally woodcut voice of Zernell.
“Although it feels like wer’re growing apart […] It’s only growing pains…” He suggests, shyly. And who are we to judge?
– © Neil_Mach July 2013 –