On the dazzling 12-track album, “What We Need”, Mike Di Lorenzo takes his musical virtuosity, and his ear for luscious productions and melts them into an album that’s more soulful than the 60s, groovier than the 70s, and smoother than the 80’s. Di Lorenzo brings the best of those elements into this 2022 Adult Contemporary R&B recording, which is lavishly littered with eloquent Jazz and Soul flavors. Throughout the album, Di Lorenzo stuns with his dynamic arrangements, where the elegant but intense interplay between the rhythm section, the horns, the strings, and his characteristically creamy keys which subtly rise to the top of the arrangements with its magical harmonic voicings.
Somehow, as if the utterly delectable aforementioned sonic formula was already not enough to absolutely wow audiences, Mike Di Lorenzo then decided to surround himself with a choice selection of supremely superb singers. Among them, R&B singer-songwriter Anna Moore, who also collaborated in the songwriting of 4 songs, coming up with melodies and lyrics on the spot. Also onboard is Pop singer, model and social media sensation, Sonna Rele, with currently over 2.2 million followers on TikTok alone. Her credits include singing the soundtrack theme song for the Disney Movie Cinderella to recording with Ne-Yo.
Jazz and Soul recording veteran Denise Steward, features on the Nancy Wilson classic “Guess Who I Saw Today”, while Joel Kibble of the 10-time Grammy award-winning vocal group Take 6 offers his immense vocal talent on “Time After Time”. Finally, the album also features the contemporary skills of CiaNo, whose voice and productions can be heard throughout network television. All of these artists present a formidable vocal line-up, for what was initially intended to be an instrumental album.
Due to the Covid restrictions making it difficult for live performances and studio recording gatherings, Mike Di Lorenzo – who has performed with Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, from Bo Diddley to Whitney Houston – found it easier to reach out to, and work with singers directly. He was eventually so blown away by the level of performances and enthusiasm for this project that it simply blossomed into a full-length vocal album.
The album kicks off on a soulful note with “Island Breeze” ft. CaiNo & Sonna, where throbbing basslines meet shimmering keys and a skittering sax, to form a solid foundation for the vocal and rapping embellishments. Anna Moore bursts out of the sultry “Let’s Make Our Love Last” with a voice that resonates and emotes in equal doses, as she rides the steady beat. The Nancy Wilson classic “Guess Who I Saw Today” allows songstress Denise Stewart to bring along all of her jazzy nuances, and for Mike Di Lorenzo to jack up the beat substantially.
“Girl Talk” ft. Sonna, works up a simmering mood as the singer dominates the track with a powerful performance, while Mike Di Lorenzo’s dancing keys color the pockets. “What We Need” rides on a steady head-nodding beat and the captivating vocal cords that belong to Anna Moore. “Time After Time” sees the incredible Joel Kimble step up to the mic for an awe-inspiring performance wrapped in a beautiful, classically inspired arrangement. A jaw-dropping moment indeed.
Anna Moore continues her incredible artistic progression in this project, on the sublime “Speak Low”, before making way for the stunning Sonna on the spacey new wave R&B sounds of “We Don’t Talk Anymore”. Anna Moore reclaims the reigns on the back-to back tracks “Runaway” and “When I’m With You”, where her charismatic voice is totally irresistible. It should also be noted at this point, that throughout these songs the sax work is simply striking.
Mike Di Lorenzo’s poignant piano tones on “Let Me Love You”, are the perfect foil for CiaNo’s angular modern vocal timbre, which drive this track. The funky syncopated progressions of “Take A Chance” closes the album, with the formidable Anna Moore on the mic. It’s the perfect way to end the project on a high and infectious note.
Mike Di Lorenzo has dropped a modern-day classic with “What We Need”. Adult Contemporary R&B albums, this vibrant and organic, are already hard to come by, in a somewhat sterile musical environment. To create, record and produce an album that contains such a high level of all-round artistry goes way beyond any expectations.