If you ask the Queens-born, Florida-raised crooner Zan what inspired "Smooth," he'll casually wax about the Maytals, Frankie Yalli, Delfonics, and his Jamaican parents. But the track immediately reminded me of my favorite soul singer, Billy Stewart, who's fluttery scats and vocal embellishments made him a left-of-center pop icon and pal of Marvin Gaye in the '60s. Zan fearlessly tumbles down lyrics like Forget about the past, it wasn't meant to last/ we're gonna have a blast, time for a new start with all of Stewart's vocal glee, but the bleeding-edged production keeps it from feeling too derivative. “When I wrote ‘Smooth,’ I was thinking about music that has been ignored and forgotten by a big percentage of my generation," Zan tells FADER. "My parents were born in the '50s and I grew up listening to music from the 60s’ and up, so I just want to bring that feeling that I know is missing." It's a short play, but it doesn't take long to get its point across.
August 18, 2015