Soulful

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tracy E. Hopkins
Although he took the 2003 American Idol crown, Ruben Studdard is often overshadowed by his baby-faced runner-up, Clay Aiken, who went on to release a platinum debut. With the release of his own hotly anticipated debut, however, the Velvet Teddy Bear is poised to reclaim his thunder. A soulful crooner in the Luther Vandross mold, the gregarious loverman is the polar opposite to Aiken, a lanky, wholesome throwback to pop idols like Pat Boone. But it's Studdard's charm and husky, church-inspired vocals -- paired with smooth R&B and hip-hop-lite tracks -- that make Soulful the best record by an American Idol alum thus far. Studdard plays up his large-and-in-charge ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tracy E. Hopkins
Although he took the 2003 American Idol crown, Ruben Studdard is often overshadowed by his baby-faced runner-up, Clay Aiken, who went on to release a platinum debut. With the release of his own hotly anticipated debut, however, the Velvet Teddy Bear is poised to reclaim his thunder. A soulful crooner in the Luther Vandross mold, the gregarious loverman is the polar opposite to Aiken, a lanky, wholesome throwback to pop idols like Pat Boone. But it's Studdard's charm and husky, church-inspired vocals -- paired with smooth R&B and hip-hop-lite tracks -- that make Soulful the best record by an American Idol alum thus far. Studdard plays up his large-and-in-charge sex appeal on "What Is Sexy?," which borrows its thumping bass beat from Mary J's "Real Love" and finds the Alabama native proclaiming, "This is for the big boys, we're in style again." The charismatic Studdard pays homage to his humble beginnings on the nostalgic "No Ruben," on which he boasts, "If you didn't know, I was a star before the show." But as he did on the show, Studdard really shines on his renditions of the classic cover tunes, such as the Al Green–popularized "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," the Donny Hathaway favorite "For All We Know," and the Vandross-by-way-of-the Carpenters winner "Superstar." Studdard proves himself to be a musical heavyweight with a broad range on the uplifting Fred Hammond collaboration "We Have Not Forgotten," which suggests he could have a promising career singing non-secular music. But that's unlikely to happen anytime soon, because Soulful successfully launches the career of a bona fide R&B superstar.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Ruben Studdard won the second American Idol competition in 2003, but by the time he released his debut album, Soulful, in December of that year, it seemed like he was the runner-up to Clay Aiken, the competition's second-place contestant. Clay captured the heart of the preteen girls at the core of AmIdol's audience, since he was the perfect make-believe boyfriend: kinda cute, skinny and nonthreatening, singing songs of puppy love. Ruben was kinda cute, gigantic and nonthreatening, singing songs styled after his idol Luther Vandross -- soulful late-night grooves that didn't quite fit the old-fashioned pop sensibilities of American Idol. Studdard's consistently satisfying, easygoing performances and taste for material slightly older than the AmIdol demographic made him a favorite of the judges, and a favorite of an audience wanting to prove that the show wasn't just churning out prefabricated pop stars. Throughout the season, Ruben was favored to win -- sometimes even singing as if the outcome was a foregone conclusion -- but Clay had a serious surge of support that threatened to knock Studdard out of the catbird's seat. Aiken's popularity continued to grow even after he lost the competition, causing the label to scrap plans for the pair to release competing albums on the same day, since when the duo simultaneously released singles -- both crawling, undistinguished adult contemporary ballads -- Clay bested Ruben. Since it would be poor form for the winner to lose on a large scale, the dueling discs were pushed aside and Studdard was given extra time to work on his debut, making it less MOR, well, more Soulful. This was a smart move, since it drew a clear distinction between him and Aiken while appealing to the urban audience that always loved Ruben's Luther-isms. Also, by targeting the album at urban audiences, the producers gave Ruben a set of tracks heavy on slow grooves and sensual feel, not songs that would require him to stretch his vocal limits. In other words, most of Soulful consists of cuts that are about the feel of the production, from the shiny surfaces to the languid late-night beats, and not on songs that have strong, memorable verses and choruses. This works to the album's favor, at least as a piece of cohesive product, since it maintains a steady groove and feel from beginning to end. While Ruben won accolades for his voice, Soulful works best as a whole package, with the voice and production blending into one, providing appealing, professional, accomplished romantic mood music.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/9/2003
  • Label: Sony Mod - Afw Line
  • UPC: 828765463928
  • Catalog Number: 54639
  • Sales rank: 15,314

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ruben Studdard Primary Artist, Vocals, Background Vocals
Rob Mounsey Piano, Conductor, Keyboards
Michael Thompson Guitar
Sid Page Violin
Maxi Anderson Background Vocals
Elena Barere Violin, Concert Master
Davis A. Barnett Viola
Eric Bell Background Vocals
Charlie Bisharat Violin
Larry Corbett Cello
Joel Derouin Concert Master
Nathan East Bass
Lawrence Feldman Flute
Steve Ferrera Drums
Barry Finclair Violin
Armen Garabedian Violin
Berj Garabedian Violin
Larry Gold Conductor
Fred Hammond Vocals, Background Vocals, Guest Appearance
Ricky Lawson Drums
Richard Locker Cello
Cindy Mizelle Background Vocals
Peter Nocella Viola
Greg Phillinganes Keyboards
James Poyser Piano
Karie Prescott Viola
Mark Robertson Violin
Richard Sortomme Violin
Carl Sturken Guitar, Keyboards
Josefina Vergara Violin
Anthony Wilkins Background Vocals
Evan Wilson Viola
John Wittenberg Violin
Cenovia Cummins Violin
Jamie Brown Choir, Chorus, Group Member
Damon Thomas Group Member
Fat Joe Guest Appearance
Suzie Katayama Cello
Eric Dawkins Background Vocals, Vocal Director
Bob Peterson Violin
Pretty Tony Guest Appearance
Joey Woolfalk Guitar
A.J. Wright Choir, Chorus
Noel Hall Keyboards
Olga Konopelsky Violin
Emma Kummrow Violin
Charlene Kwas Violin
Igor Szwec Violin
Peter Gordon French Horn
Harvey Mason Jr. Group Member
Kevin Hanson Guitar
Angela Fisher Background Vocals
Ashley Davis Background Vocals
Mark Jaimes Guitar
David Earl Miller Choir, Chorus, Group Member
Eric King Background Vocals
Vince Lionti Viola
Bob Becker Viola
Peter Murray Piano, Keyboards
Harold Lilly Background Vocals
Jonathan Dinklage Violin
Kevin Milburn Background Vocals
Cecilia Bereal Powell Background Vocals
Joseph Jr. Bereal Background Vocals
Latanya Bereal Background Vocals
Melissa Bereal Background Vocals
Crystal Drummer Background Vocals
Dan Smith Cello
Joel Bowers Background Vocals
Jennie Lorenzo Cello
Alyssa Park Violin
Helen Zeigler Choir, Chorus, Group Member
Felecia Bowles Choir, Chorus, Group Member
Jacqueline Bridges Choir, Chorus, Group Member
Tribe Called Judah Choir, Chorus, Group
Tanisha J. Cidel Choir, Chorus, Group Member
Ghislaine Fleischmann Violin
Michele Richards Violin
Edward Lawson Background Vocals
Andrew Kennedy Background Vocals
The Underdogs Group
Technical Credits
Leon Russell Composer
Rob Mounsey String Arrangements
Joe Sample Composer
Bonnie Bramlett Composer
Robin Gibb Composer
Evan Rogers Producer
Barry Gibb Composer
David Campbell Arranger, String Arrangements
Steve Churchyard Engineer
Melvin Coleman Composer, Producer
J. Fred Coots Composer
Clive Davis Producer
Chris Gehringer Mastering
Maurice Gibb Composer
Larry Gold String Arrangements
Fred Hammond Composer, drum programming
Will Jennings Composer
Richard Marx Composer
Mark Morales Composer
Malcolm Pollack Engineer
Mark Rooney Composer
Jonn Savannah Pro-Tools
Carl Sturken Producer
Ryan Toby Composer
Mike "Hitman" Wilson Engineer
Gavyn Wright Orchestra Leader
Damon Thomas Composer, Producer
Eric Dawkins Composer
Tony Dixon Composer
Jazze Pha Producer
Noel Hall Composer
Paul Boutin Engineer
Brian Springer Engineer
Tommie Walker drum programming
Irv Gotti Producer
Dino Hermann Pro-Tools
Steve Mac Composer
Andre Harris Composer, Producer, Instrumentation
Irving Lorenzo Composer
Harvey Mason Jr. Composer, Producer
Jeffrey Atkins Composer
Al Hemberger Engineer
Doc Wiley Engineer
Kevin Wilson Engineer
Swizz Beatz Producer
Kevin Hicks Composer, Producer
Johnta Austin Composer
Gerard Thomas Composer, Producer
Jim Bottari Engineer
Alexis Yraola Art Direction
Jason Edmonds Composer
David Ashton Vocal Engineer, Pro-Tools
Vidal Davis Composer, Producer, Instrumentation
Kamel Abdo Engineer
Alex Reverberi Engineer
Wayne Hector Composer
Steve Conover Engineer
Jason Boyd Composer
Harold Lilly Composer, Producer, Vocal Producer
Kasseem Dean Composer
Dabling Harward Engineer
Chandler Bridges Pro-Tools
Postmaster Programming
Vincent Dilorenzo Engineer
Ronnie Jackson Composer
Chris LeBeau Artwork
Lil Ronnie Producer, Instrumentation
Keri Hilson Composer
Bruce Fraser Engineer
Simon Fuller Management
Kirk Robinson Composer
James McMillan Arranger, Producer
The Underdogs Producer, Instrumentation
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    It was just ok for me

    Being a new fan of American Idol this year and since my idol Taylor Reuben Hicks was from Alabama. I thought I would take the time to hear another Ruben. Very disappointed. If I want to hear Luther'isms. I will put on my Luther V albums.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    GOT RUBEN

    I loved ruben since American Idol. This CD is great and don't let anyone tell you it's not. Ruben is the Velvet Teddy Bear. 205 baby. You go Ruben. I hope Ruben comes out with more CD's. I can't wait. Ruben if you read this give a holla email. Love you!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Got it today!

    I purchased Ruben's CD today, but wish I wouldn't have. To me the entire CD is a snooze fest, and it's hard to tell what he's saying at times; on many of the tracts. I liked him on AI, but to me this CD is a flop.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Such a disappointment

    I loved Ruben on AI, but this is not the "Velvet Teddybear" we came to love. Several very good cuts, but overall a disappointment. After several plays the CD gathers dust.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Sorry I wasted my money

    I love Ruben's voice but you can hardly hear it on this CD. We mostly fast forwarded through each song because they were so bad. My husband and I both asked our daughter to never play it when we were around. I have never felt that way about any other CD before. I am really sorry I wasted my money. Listen to the tracks before you buy. I am sorry I didn't.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Ruben, Ruben, Ruben,

    Simply great! Bringing Ruben and Clay to the top in 2003 was the best thing to do. Ruben really surprised me when he featured the exceptionally talented and gifted artist Fred Hammond. Who is my most favorite gospel recording artist. Ruben you've done well!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Excellent!!

    Why does his cd sound better than some of these established artists out today?? Every cut on this cd is good. Great job,Ruben!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    the best cd for 2004

    love it love it love it... ruben if you read this are you single? :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    great

    I was surprised with this cd it showed how diversified his voice is .i am a luther fan and enjoyed his version.excellent cd

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I’m disappointed

    I purchased this CD the day it came out, expecting songs in the style he sang on American Idol. That's not what's on this CD, because it's mostly hip-hop and it sounds like he's talking half the time. I'm sorry to say this is the last CD of his that I will purchase.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awesome!

    I supported and voted for Ruben from beginning to end. I am very pleased with his cd. My daughter and I listen to the cd everyday. It literally has not left my cd player in my car ever since the day I bought it. I think to try to compare Ruben to Luther is an insult. Luther is a great singer and performer, I'm sure everyone will agree. But no entertainer wants to be constantly compared to another. To aspire to have a music career says that "I have a sound, style and talent like no other and I'd like to share it with the world." So while Ruben is a large man with a smooth voice, you're right, he's no Luther--because he's Ruben Studdard. I think he has a great future ahead of him. His debut cd is wonderful. I don't believe he receives the publicity he should as being the winner of American Idol. But I believe that Ruben's voice is strong enough to overcome all the negative things he's come up against. I'm a Ruben fan until the end!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great and Good

    Ruben your album was very good I wish you the best and many blessing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think this is a great album and I think Ruben rocks not clay the American Idol is Ruben and this album proves it keep up the good work, I love Sorry 2004 its the best song this year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    How did he win?

    Personality, charisma, magnetism, emotion. These adjectives are all traits that Mr. Studdard fails to possess. Granted, he did write these abyssmal songs, but he did perform; a performance without soul, without emotion, and if all were right and fair with the world, without an American Idol title. A major disappointment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantastic! Excellent!

    I am glad that Rueben took the time needed to complete "Soulful", because the CD is an excellent first effort. He is indeed the "velvet teddybear" and I anticipate a long successful career for this young artist. Best Wishes my brother.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    RUBEN!

    This is even better than American Idol! I'm gonna have to buy this!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This Album Is Cool

    His voice sounds a lot better in the studio. I thought the album was okay. What was up with that lady saying she was dissapointed because he didn't sing those songs on the show? I'm glad he didn't, i'm glad if it sounded like a hip-hop-R&B CD. That's what I wanted. You can't expect him to sing those weak pop songs with a voice that sounds like Luther Vandross. He's a soul singer, not a pop singer. This album is cool. If you are a fan of Luther Vandross get this CD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Even though it is not out...

    I dont care that it is not out, ruben your cd will blow our minds! it has to be better than clay. you rock my socks!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Ruben is the American Idol.

    I haven't heard the actual whole album but it sounds good to me. I think that since Ruben won the title of American Idol he should have gotten all the publicity that Clay got and even way more. Clay Aiken isn't the American Idol. He shouldn't have been able to release his album until after Ruben. Kelly put her singles out when she won, but Justin didn't. So why should Clay. I think Ruben should have been able, only Ruben, to put out Flying withought wings/superstar and not Clay because Ruben's the A.I. I like both of them but the situation is unfair.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    a wonderful and appropriate debut

    Ruben's CD is worth the wait. His vocals sound strong, confident, like he is able to take his place amongst the best R&B singers on the current market. What I liked most is the production of songs such as After the Candles Burn, What If, Sorry 2004, What is Sexy, and Don't Quit on Me. His vocal range is amazing (check out After the Candles Burn), and the choruses, beats, and rhythms are all rockin' and likable. Ruben definitely has the hip-hop thing going on, and he just sounds wonderful, like he put his all into the songs and really felt them. Although there were a couple of songs that sound like filler, the overall flavor of the song selection is top-notch and I think he, his producers, writers, and executive producer Clive Davis did a commendable job. I definitely recommend SOULFUL to anyone who enjoys R&B and catchy, upbeat songs.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews