Born in the small Swedish town of Malmo, Z. Woods gleaned all the singing chops he'd need from his idols: Usher, Musiq Soulchild and Luther Vandross. It's not the first place you'd look for a rising R&B vocalist but then again, it seems like Z. Woods' unique journey from Sweden to Los Angeles has served him well.
Today the young vocalist cites his hometown as the genesis for his appreciation of hip hop and R&B, borne from a wide exposure to different people. “The diverse ethnic population of my city allowed me to learn about other cultures and come to the realization that regardless of where you’re from, we all share the possession and need for emotion," he says. This is certainly true in the Internet Era, where it almost doesn't matter what heritage the person behind the mic belongs to - if he's got the gift, let him sing.
Z. Wood certainly has a gift. "Sunday Best" sounds like something Usher would have liked to claim as his own. It's incredibly smooth yet upbeat and lyrically, makes nice use of the title in playful wordplay.
Z. Wood demonstrates a depth for music that goes beyond sounding great vocally. When asked who his producer influences are, he names respectable talents like Ryan Leslie and Timbaland. These influences are demonstrated in the emotional and instrumental range of his songs. Some are sultry and sensual, others coyly light-hearted. Still a few capture the vulnerability of broken heartedness.
"You" is a solid track that will have soul and R&B lovers of all stripes rallying behind the young artist. Like many of the greatest R&B jams, strikes a balance between sensuality and sincerity.
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Z. Wood's body of work - about 5 songs at the moment - is rather short but it's not indistinct. It's well-produced and very clever lyrically - you get the sense there is an earnestness behind his music, unlike a lot of the highly disposable pop drivel we're usually served by mainstream artists. Z. Wood exhibits an enormous amount of potential and growth so it will be more than exciting to see what he comes up with next.