Artist of the Day: Ron Bultongez

Posted by Greg on Aug 29, 2018 in Music |

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We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we love radio pop. So it’s no surprise that this blog loves American Idol, yes even the horribly adequate version that ABC recently premiered. One of our favorites from that debut season was Texas singer-songwriter Ron Bultongez. We were certainly hoping he’d advance to the finals, but as often happens on the show, the best don’t always win.

Bultongez recently released his sophomore EP Learning to Love (Aug. 1, self-released) and it is in a word: splendid. Channeling the likes of Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran and Brett Dennen, Learning to Love is confident, tender, emotive and deeply affecting. Album opener “Younger Me” seems tailor-made for radio and Sirius XM’s The Blend while the mid-tempo “My Mistake” seems perfect for Sirius XM’s The Coffehouse.

One of Bultongez’s best assets is his story: a refugee from the Congo, he has lived in homeless shelters and foster homes, became a guardian for his teenage brothers, became a father and sustained an injury while on a college football scholarship. Bultongez channels all of those strands into this arresting album. The plaintive “Like Crazy” and “Radio” both has a country lilt to it and one would think the song might be a huge hit in Nashville among the country-pop fanatics.

Speaking of Nashville, Bultongez cut a new version of his song “Listen” and it is without a doubt the apex of the album. Backed by strings, a titanic chorus and Bultongez’s poignant timbre the song is an absolute home run from start to finish. Much in the same vein, the confessional “Learning to Love” has a grand, arena-like height to it and rises on the strength of symphonic strings.

In less than 30 minutes, Bultongez has made an enormous statement with this EP and is most assuredly an artist to watch out for in 2018 and beyond.

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