This week sees Lemar releasing his sixth studio album The Letter; an album made up mainly of reinterpretations of songs originally recorded by some of his favourite soul singers, but with a few originals thrown in to the mix.
The record’s second official single Love Turned Hate is one of the three new offerings from the MOBO award winner’s follow up to his 2012 LP Invincible but, for it to sit head and shoulders alongside his takes on tracks made famous by the likes of Sam Cooke, the Supremes, Al Greene and Van Morrison, there are some serious gains to be made.
Thankfully, as it turns out, Love Turned Hate plays straight to Lemar’s vocal strengths, his earthy, rich timbre dominating the mid-tempo soul number with its effortless injection of warmth and emotion, and flipping in and out of falsetto with the same kind of effortless prowess that he flexed on just one of his early career highlights – the 2004 UK #3 hit If There’s Any Justice.
Also on hand to lend added authenticity are album producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman) and backing vocalists The Waters who are no strangers to soul, having worked previously with Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Adele. Plus the LP was recorded at the famous EastWest Studios in Los Angeles, where Frank Sinatra recorded My Way and Marvin Gaye made Let’s Get It On,
“The calibre of musicians and the vibe in the studio made it magical,” says Lemar. “So many great artists have recorded there. It’s hard to write a happy song when you’re down. Being in those rooms, knowing who had been before me, was inspirational.”
Watch the music video for Love Turned Hate below ahead of its official 23 October release, and download The Letter here.