Together like they never left one another … and truthfully, they didn’t.
The reunion is that of the production duo of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis “reuniting” with the Sounds of Blackness … “reuniting” with Ann Nesby … “reuniting” with James “Big Jim” Wright. The magic that emerged from this union is the recently released gospel/R&B tune, “Til I Found You,” which also features vocals from Lauren Evans. The song is the first release from the upcoming Jam and Lewis compilation album, “Jam & Lewis: VOLUME ONE.” And as Gary Hines, founding member of the Sounds of Blackness, put it, it’s not a reunion … it’s a public reemergence.
“We were never apart,” said Hines. “We (Sounds) never stopped working together with Ann. Though we hadn’t recorded together, we would do shows together even after her solo projects and we are still working together. This is just the next phase in that unification.”
That “next step” has resulted in an up-tempo gospel grove with a distinct R&B feel … something heard at the family cookout or late night at a stepper’s set. The song resonates something like another Sounds hit.
“It’s like a 2019 ‘Optimistic,’” said Hines, referring to the group’s 1991 crossover hit that anchored the Grammy-winning debut album, “The Evolution of Gospel.”
Released in April, “Til I Found You” is climbing the gospel and urban adult contemporary charts. Hines said the song’s recording and release are serendipitous.
“‘Optimistic’ was the last song we recorded on (‘The Evolution’) so to have this as the first song on the new Jam and Lewis compilation we’re both elated and humbled,” said Hines. “I mean there are some of the greats in all of music on this album, so to have us be the song that introduces it to the world, again, elated and humbled. We were the first act signed to Jam and Lewis’ record label so it’s like here we go again.”
“Sounds of Blackness will always hold such a special place in our hearts because they were the first act we signed to our original record label,” said Jimmy Jam in an interview published on the website, YouKnowIGotSoul.com. “We felt it was only right for this single with them to introduce our compilation album.”
“Jam & Lewis: VOLUME ONE,” scheduled for a release later this summer, is rumored to have tracks from the likes of Janet Jackson, Lionel Richie, Mary J. Blige, Boys II Men, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson and more.
“Til I Found You” was actually recorded several years ago and Jam and Lewis and Sounds got together to refresh the track and, along with Evans, added extra vocals. Tragically, Wright, who produced and wrote for Nesby, Jackson, Carey and more, passed away this past September, months prior to the song’s release.
While “Til I Found You” is receiving critical acclaim, Hines said he has a different measure of success.
“The song is really a love song to God,” said Hines. “And we’ve been getting letters and tweets from people saying this song convinced them not to take there lives because they were considering suicide, so to know that; that’s the ultimate reward.”