Cover art for Ahmed Sirour's song: "Sensitive" (special NFT edition) - Cleveland P. Jones & Ahmed Sirour
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"Sensitive" (special NFT edition) - Cleveland P. Jones & Ahmed Sirour

Ahmed Sirour
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Record Details

I first encountered Cleveland P. Jones in Atlanta, GA, about 22 years ago in the year 2000 (how funny to call it that, two decades and two years after the fact). It was at a popular open mic/jam session, and have you ever been to one where people sign up to perform and all of a sudden, mid-way through the event, a singer gets on stage who is so amazing, who captivates the audience with every note uttered, and who pretty much burns the stage with their unbelievable talent and stage presence that others who knew they might be called up next quietly and quickly made their way to the exit because they didn't dare follow up behind THAT?! Well, that's Cleveland, but the crazy thing was that during that time, he was always humbly and comfortably cool with just being the background singer for various artists around town or on tour...but I always wondered why someone with the gifts of a certified headliner was content with being near to but outside of the spotlight? Fast-forward a year later and Cleveland's doing his Master’s degree program in Boston, and I was back from London having completed my own after being gone for 2 years but now know how to produce and engineer, and so I go by to visit him in Boston but also see if I can talk him into recording a track because I really felt the world needed to hear this amazing artist. Cleveland, however, was very hesitant to do so and resisted the idea, initially, but eventually came around, and we managed to first release a cover of the jazz standard made famous by Nat King Cole ("Nature Boy"), which got a lot of great buzz! It was that catalyst that helped Cleve to get over his initial anxiety about his unique vocal register and learn to embrace it and see himself as a lead singer that all the rest of us who knew him completely believed he was meant to be. "Sensitive" came about as kind of a fluke, because we were actually recording an entirely different song, to try and put together a debut EP for him. It was when we decided to take a recording break, at his home studio, that he went to make a snack while I stayed in the studio area and decided to play around on keys to just clear my head of the project. I then played a combination of chords that made me stop, go "hmmm", then played it over again and felt something spark, so decided to record it then loop it to see if I heard any ideas. Cleveland walks back in, and I ask him to listen to the loop and see if he maybe he hears something magical in it as I do. He stops moving, closes his eyes while standing there in the middle of the room, then opens his eyes again and starts humming a melody, over and over, punctuated by one identifiable word..."sensitive". He then looks for a pen and pad, then starts writing something while still humming, and still saying that one word, then stops humming altogether and just writes like he's taking notes from a fast talking professor. About 20 minutes pass before he mumbles what seems to be a verse that he's trying to get right, then walks over to the microphone, puts on the headphones, and signals for me to get ready to start recording him, and then he begins singing the very first verse, which is what you hear in the first minute of this recording...the first time the public has ever heard this rare first take that never made the final mix of the song. Also, for the purpose of context, the song actually had to do with his ex, whom he was still getting over, and the emotional wounds were still fresh as she did a number on his heart, but what great songs haven't had such a powerful catalyst as heartbreak to create something special? What you hear in the first minute and a half is the genesis of "Sensitive", in its original rough & unmixed, early arranged form before it merges into the final draft that many have come to know and love over the past 11 years that this song has been in existence, received airplay around the world on various independent and major radio stations, including on Gilles Peterson Worldwide where the famed DJ did a rare thing in featuring it on his BBC Radio show in two consecutive shows, back-to-back. He even went further to contact us later via email, with a licensing contract, to ask to have the song be featured on his Brownswood Bubblers Seven album compilation (interestingly enough, as track #7 as well). Most importantly, it introduced Cleveland P. Jones to the world as the soloist and the headliner (not background singer), that he was always meant to be! For me, it was the opportunity to test my musical and production skills by creating an orchestral arrangement (which took me a week to do) that actually fooled many DJs and musicians who thought we had a big production budget and hired a small orchestral ensemble of instrumentalists and vocalists, instead of the actuality of it being just one man singing all the parts and another man playing all the instruments on keyboard...while in the hood, in a second-floor apartment in Boston where we had to wait sometimes for dogs to stop barking and occasional sirens to pass by before we could continue recording! Just as we embarked into new territory and had no idea what would happen when we finally released this song to the world, it's revisiting that same kind of feeling as we release this NFT version of this song to the world and honestly have no clue what to expect as we embark in new territory yet again. To the lucky collector of this one-of-kind song (and one-of-one version that isn't even available anywhere else on other streaming & download platforms), we are thrilled to offer this to you and hope you value it as much as we have over the years and for many years to come as we now know this song will far outlive us! Good luck, everyone!
Date Pressed
November 28, 2022
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