Number 620 - Grayson Hugh
Grayson Hugh exploded onto the scene in 1988 and completely disappeared 4 years later (or so it would seem). His album "Blind to Reason" had two Hits in New Zealand "Talk it Over" & "Two Hearts" both songs of equal strength that could have been in the countdown.
Gritty singer/keyboardist Grayson Hugh appeared to be the real deal when he debuted in 1988 with the album Blind to Reason. His blend of soft rock and Southern Soul along with his Sam Cooke-influenced voice made for an impressive introduction. He scored immediately with "Talk It Over," a lazy, soulful, midtempo cut that hit the Pop top 20 but also won him fans on R&B radio. The accompanying album was generally solid, and included a number of great cuts, including the title track, "Bring It All Back," and "Romantic Heart."
Hugh was raised on Connecticut and moved to New York as a young man. He reportedly was in search of a record contract when he met popular producer Michael Baker on an elevator and played some of his demo tapes. Baker was blown away by the soulfulness in Hugh's voice and helped land him a contract with RCA Records, which became the label that released his debut album.
After Blind to Reason was released, Grayson Hugh and soul songstress Betty Wright recorded a cover of Champaign's "How Bout Us" that received a fair amount of airplay, resulting in a re-release of the debut album with that song included.
For his sophomore disc, Hugh teamed with Chic co-founder Bernard Edwards, fresh off his work with Robert Palmer. Unfortunately, the disc, Road to Freedom, stiffed. Whether due to record company indifference, confusion in musical classification or simply a lack of a substantial audience for his brand of blue-eyed soul, Grayson Hugh's promising recording career was over soon after it began. However, his two CD releases (both now out of print) are worth seeking out, as each has a few memorable songs and a number of fine vocal performances.
During the 90s, Hugh composed music for many notable dance choreographers, including Christine Bennett and the Paul Taylor Dance Company. He has also been on the faculty of and has performed at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston. He also occasionally performs around Boston. Grayson Hugh is reportedly working on a new album with his original band, slated for independent release in late '07. By Chris Rizik
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