WHAT WE SAY:
It’s hard to picture a jazz-band-playing choirboy bonding with grunge acts like Pearl Jam and Nirvana. But Philadelphia-bred singer Theodore “Range” Bowen couldn’t curb his affinity for rock—at age 6, he was passionately belting Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” into a make-believe mic. Even as an avid R. Kelly Stan, Range (now 25) felt a deeper connection with rock’s untamed emo tales than R&B’s sappy sentiments. Inspired to write his own emotionally charged tunes, the vocalist developed a forthright yet flirtatious approach to R&B (the mellow confessional “Try”) that scored him a deal with production maestros Stargate in 2009. Now prepping his StarRoc/Roc Nation debut, No Strings, he’s set on keeping emotions running high.
WHAT HE SAYS:
“As a kid, I loved rock more than any other genre. Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Elvis—it was something about the passion. One day I was playing loud rock on my headphones on the train and Black people looked at me with disappointment. But those ballads are so much more emotional than R&B. Now, that’s cool in R&B and rap—they call it emo—but it wasn’t always like that. Rockers were always talking about things that made them cry. People in R&B weren’t doing that. Maybe [when it came to] love, but Kurt Cobain was talking hurt in life. That’s something I bring lyrically. I don’t hold back just because it might sound OD emotional.” —Jason Parham