Bilal is an extremely talented R&B artist that basically got stuck in major label hell. As a classically trained opera singer, there are very few voices I've heard in R&B with quite the caliber as his. While earning all the critical respect in the world from his major label debut, 2001's "1st Born Second", even the roster of big-name producers- with little promotion he was buried beneath the neo-soul explosion of Maxwell, India Arie, Jill Scott, and Erykah Badu. Since then, he's gained quite the cult following, continuing to tour and work with other artists. His second album, "Love for Sale", was shelved by Interscope to the dismay of many fans, despite the entire album leaking on the internet.
In 2009, he finally signed with an indie label, and the following year released his second official album, the universally lauded "Airtight's Revenge". Unbound by major label pressure, the album showcases massive creativity and classic sounding soul music. Bilal has a falsetto that will send chills down your spine. It's a shame that one of the absolute best voices of the past decade is continually ignored by the mainstream.
One of the singles from the album, torchlight ballad "Little One", is a perfect example of his sound- flawless vocals, Stevie Wonder influence, strong melody, and meaningful lyrics. The video is quite powerful, as a couple learns that their child is autistic. The mainstream has not been a welcoming place for Bilal over the past decade, but at least those of us that are aware of his presence are continually rewarded with stellar classic soul music.