Like many soul music stars, Lorenzo Owens' desire to sing was rooted at home and at church. He began singing Gospel at his Milwaukee church as a toddler, and formed a love of soul music listening to Earth, Wind and Fire records at his grandmother's house. As he grew into a teen, he continued to amaze those around him with the power and range of his voice, but did not expect to make music a career. Instead, he enrolled in college with the intention of obtaining a business degree.
After switching majors several times, Owens came to the realization that music was indeed his calling. He moved to Chicago and honed his craft for a few years, spending several years working as a waiter during the day and singing at night. His his big break came with the arrival of Oprah Winfrey's Pop Star Challenge. Owens entered the contest and wowed the audience with his performances, ultimately making it to the finals via his strong performances of Stevie Wonder's "All In Love Is Fair" and the Motown classic "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."
Following his appearance, Owens signed with D-Town Records and teamed with producers Michael J. Powell (Anita Baker, Howard Hewett) and Gerey Johnson (who worked on the Oprah compilation album), to record his debut album, After The Show. The result is an excellent reminder of why the Oprah audiences fell for Lorenzo in the first place. His voice is a beautiful instrument, a wonderful combination of Ali Woodson and Rahsaan Patterson that shows soulful grit on cuts like "Inseperable" and "Gamble," but demonstrates a tremendous range and touch on a series of excellent ballads, including "Rainbows" and the Kem-like "Light N' Darkness" and "Love's Not Enough." The disc alternates between slow songs and a more modern R&B sound, but is at its absolute best on Powell's adult soul productions.
With After The Show, Lorenzo Owens shows himself to be one of the great young voices in soul -- a pure voice who should be around for years to come.
By Chris Rizik