Release Date: Jan 20, 2015
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Mikky Ekko has always been an eclectic artist, blending pop, folk, R&B, and hip-hop influences with a dramatic, romantic flair. However, his breakthrough single, the Grammy-nominated Rihanna duet "Stay," set expectations for and perceptions about his music that he clarifies on his debut album, Time. As on the collaborations with David Guetta and Chris Malinchak that arrived before the album, Ekko spends a fair amount of Time expanding his sound and downplaying anything that comes too close to "Stay"'s piano balladry: the album begins with the ingratiatingly fizzy single "Smile" and doesn't delve into slower, moodier territory until its second half with brooding tracks like "Mourning Doves" and "Comatose.
It may have taken a Rihanna hit to catapult him into the spotlight, but Mikky Ekko now has the platform he deserves. The gifted songwriter, who co-penned and co-starred in Rihanna's "Stay," does more than just fine on his own. From the gorgeous crooning of "Time," where he slides through six notes every time he sings the title of the song to album opener, "Smile," a simple feel-good pop song that's sure to get him radio play, there's plenty to hold our attention.
Mikky Ekko's pants ripped. The Louisiana-born preacher's son, whose given name is John Sudduth, was only minutes away from performing a song with Rihanna at the 2013 Grammys when, he has said more than once, his virtually one-of-a-kind designer outfit tore apart in the rear. "Stay", which Ekko co-wrote with Justin Parker (Lana Del Rey's "Video Games", Bat for Lashes' "Laura"), is a guitar-and-piano ballad that finds hardwon elegance in simple emotional truths, and it wound up going 4x platinum.
Louisiana-born pop savant Mikky Ekko, a.k.a. John Stephen Sudduth, had a hell of a breakout with Rihanna's "Stay," the 2012 megahit he co-wrote and co-sang. Ekko's debut solo LP similarly informs grand pop drama with indie idiosyncrasy – but never quite enough to distinguish it, his stirring tenor notwithstanding. The best moments are with "Stay" collaborator Elof Loelv: the fatalistically chipper single "Smile" and the necromantic "Mourning Doves," which suggests a Sam Smith/Trent Reznor co-write.
It’s been two years since Mikky Ekko shared the spotlight with Rihanna on “Stay,” and the singer wouldn’t have been faulted if he’d set about crafting an album that drafted off of his previous smash. Instead, “Time” seems to view that song as an anomaly; even “Comatose,” its closest soundalike, carves out an identity that’s clearly Ekko, rather than just Rihanna redux. His music takes the spare depth of Lorde and Tove Lo as a starting point, adding a sharp precision that — along with a floating tenor alternating between a less-sappy Sam Smith and a steelier Jeff Buckley — fuels the tense urgency of “Riot,” and sells even insubstantial material like “Love You Crazy.