New Orleans’ Lucky Daye was brought up in a religious cult that forbade secular music; it wasn’t until later in life that he became enamored with classic R&B, from The Gap Band to Chaka Khan to Prince. (That “e” at the end of Daye is an homage to Marvin Gaye’s subtle name change.) You may have already been introduced to the bulk of the golden-voiced singer’s long-teased debut album, Painted: Daye released most of its tracks over the course of two previous EPs, both of which have since disappeared into the digital ether. But the songs are all the more striking presented in full, a lush, impeccably produced arc from feel-good funk (“Late Night”) to slinky Ginuwine interpolations (“Karma”) to ravaged ballads that compare turbulent relationships to natural disasters—no small statement from a guy who survived Hurricane Katrina. Very little on Painted sounds like the R&B you’ll hear on the radio, which is exactly why it’s one of 2019’s most interesting debuts.

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