JRDN is perhaps the scarcest type of Canadian musician: a label-signed R&B/soul recording artist. But with a recent Juno nomination under his belt and a long-awaited EP (recently downgraded from a full-length project) finally out for consumption, Toronto-by-way-of-Halifax singer JRDN is making a go of things with a pure-play R&B album.

Recording since around the mid-2000s, JRDN has progressively shifted his sound from hip-hop/pop over to the more full-fledged soul sound. The self-titled effort showcases this evolution: his vocals have gotten stronger and his current production team (Toronto's Sammy Blues and Bobby Brass of Kuya) have laced the proceedings with R&B-minded, pop-friendly fare. Case in point: the poppy hit "Can't Choose," featuring Kardinal Offishall, comes off like a lost Akon track, while R&B power ballad "Love Ain't Enough" gives Trey Songz a run for his money. Tracks like "Reset" and "King" are modern sounding R&B joints and "Rebel" veers slightly into Weeknd-ish territory.

The aspirational "Live Your Dream" track that closes out the seven-track EP is a bit too earnest for its own good, but as a whole, JRDN is a pleasant affair that aims to show one can gain traction and a loyal fanbase creating unapologetically R&B music in this country.

Read an interview with JRDN here. (Fontana North)