Soulful (Ruben Studdard album)

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Soulful
An image of a man wearing a leather jacket, dress shirt and hat with his eyes closed and mouth open. The background consists of a graffiti wall, with a poster that has the artist's name and album title on it.
Studio album by Ruben Studdard
Released December 9, 2003
Recorded 2003
Genre
Length 55:28
Label
Producer
Ruben Studdard chronology
Soulful
(2003)
I Need an Angel
(2004)I Need an Angel2004
Singles from Soulful
  1. "Flying Without Wings/Superstar"
    Released: June 10, 2003
  2. "Sorry 2004"
    Released: December 12, 2003
  3. "What If"
    Released: 2004

Soulful is the debut studio album from second-season American Idol winner Ruben Studdard, released on December 9, 2003 by J Records. The record debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and spawned three singles: "Flying Without Wings/Superstar", "Sorry 2004" and "What If".

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment WeeklyC[2]
Mojo3/5 stars[3]
People2.5/4 stars[4]
Rolling Stone1/5 stars[5]
Slant Magazine2/5 stars[6]
USA Today2.5/4 stars[7]
Variety(negative)[8]

Soulful garnered mixed reviews from music critics divided over the track listing and Studdard's vocal performance. A writer for People said that Soulful does "a good job of translating to record the cuddly Velvet Teddy Bear charm that won over Idol fans, resulting in a likable if unspectacular set."[4] David Browne, writing for Entertainment Weekly, commended the "penthouse R&B and mild hip-hop" tracks by Swizz Beatz and Irv Gotti for providing versatility in Studdard's performance but found his vocals on the ballads to be "raw and unpolished," filled with mediocrity whenever he "either strains or sings flat."[2] The A.V. Club's Keith Phipps said that the show favorite ballads were the highlights compared to more uptempo tracks like "No Ruben" and "What Is Sexy", concluding that following in this direction shows that "even the most obviously talented contestant to walk the Idol stage seems fated to be forever a glorified karaoke champ."[9] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine also found the ballads Studdard performed on the show showcase his strengths more than tracks like "Don't Quit On Me" and "Take the Shot" that are "insufferably repetitive and tuneless", calling the overall record "a painfully predictable mix of traditional R&B glop and comparatively forced contemporary hip-hop."[6] Barry Walters from Rolling Stone heavily criticized the songwriters and producers for crafting material that sounds like "Broadway ripoffs of hip-hop-inspired R&B", concluding that "Studdard does the best he can, but the people behind him and the other Idols simply aren't trying."[5]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling over 417,000 copies in its first week,[10] and was certified Platinum by the RIAA on January 2004. In the U.S. the album sold an estimated 1,779,000 copies.[11]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Sorry 2004"
4:22
2."No Ruben"
4:02
3."How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"4:23
4."Take the Shot"
  • K. Dean
  • Harold Lilly
4:23
5."What is Sexy" (featuring Fat Joe)3:40
6."What If"
3:50
7."Superstar"4:13
8."Can I Get Your Attention" (featuring Pretty Tony)
  • Lilly
  • Gerald Thomas
3:37
9."For All We Know"3:41
10."Play Our Song"
4:07
11."Don't Quit on Me"
  • Dean
  • Lilly
3:18
12."After the Candles Burn"3:31
13."Flying Without Wings" (bonus track)3:44
14."We Have Not Forgotten" (featuring Fred Hammond (bonus track))
  • Hammond
  • Noel Hall
4:39

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from AllMusic.[12]

  • Kamel Abdo – engineer
  • Kwaku Alston – photography
  • June Ambrose – stylist
  • Maxi Anderson – background vocals
  • David Ashton – pro-Tools, Vocal Engineer
  • Elena Barere – concert master, violin
  • Davis A. Barnett – viola
  • Bob Becker – viola
  • Eric Bell – background vocals
  • Cecilia Bereal-Powell – background vocals
  • Joseph Jr. Bereal – background vocals
  • Latanya Bereal – vocal contractor, background vocals
  • Melissa Bereal – background vocals
  • Charlie Bisharat – violin
  • Jim Bottari – engineer, string engineer
  • Paul Boutin – engineer
  • Joel Bowers – background vocals
  • Felecia Bowles – choir/chorus, group member
  • Leslie Brathwaite – mixing
  • Chandler Bridges – pro-Tools
  • Jacqueline Bridges – choir/chorus, group member
  • Jamie Brown – choir/chorus, group member
  • David Campbell – arranger, string arrangements
  • Terrence Cash – assistant engineer
  • Rob Chiarelli – mixing
  • Steve Churchyard – engineer
  • Tanisha J. Cidel – choir/chorus, group member
  • Melvin Coleman – producer
  • Steve Conover – engineer
  • Larry Corbett – cello
  • Cenovia Cummins – violin
  • Ashley Davis – background vocals
  • Clive Davis – producer
  • Kevin KD Davis – mixing
  • Mike Davis – assistant
  • Vidal Davis – instrumentation, mixing, producer
  • Eric Dawkins – vocal director, background vocals
  • Andrea Derby – production coordination
  • Joel Derouin – concert master
  • Vincent Dilorenzo – engineer
  • Jonathan Dinklage – violin
  • PamKenyon Donald – production manager
  • Crystal Drummer – background vocals
  • Nathan East – bass
  • Fat Joe – featured artist, guest artist, primary artist
  • Lawrence Feldman – flute
  • Steve Ferrera – drums
  • Barry Finclair – violin
  • Angela Fisher – background vocals
  • Steve Fisher – assistant
  • Ghislaine Fleischmann – violin
  • Bruce Fraser – engineer
  • John Frye – mixing
  • Simon Fuller – management
  • Armen Garabedian – violin
  • Berj Garabedian – violin
  • Chris Gehringer – mastering
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • Larry Gold – conductor, string arrangements
  • Peter Gordon – French horn
  • Gordon Goss – assistant engineer
  • Irv Gotti – producer
  • Hart Gunther – assistant engineer
  • Noel Hall – keyboards
  • Fred Hammond – drum programming, featured artist, guest artist, mixing, primary artist, vocals, background vocals
  • Ray Hammond – mixing engineer
  • Kevin Hanson – guitar
  • Andre Harris – instrumentation, mixing, producer
  • Dabling Harward – editing, engineer
  • Al Hemberger – engineer, mixing
  • Dino Hermann – pro-Tools
  • Kevin Hicks – producer
  • Larry Jackson – a&r
  • Mark Jaimes – guitar
  • Jazze Pha – producer
  • Suzie Katayama – cello
  • Rich Keller – mixing
  • Andrew Kennedy – background vocals
  • Eric King – background vocals
  • Olga Konopelsky – violin
  • Emma Kummrow – violin
  • Charlene Kwas – violin
  • Edward Lawson – background vocals
  • Ricky Lawson – drums
  • Chris LeBeau – artwork
  • Lil Ronnie – instrumentation, producer
  • Harold Lilly – producer, vocal producer, background vocals
  • Vince Lionti – viola
  • Richard Locker – cello
  • Jennie Lorenzo – cello
  • Kev Mahoney – assistant engineer
  • Harvey Mason, Jr. – group member, producer
  • John McGlinchey – assistant
  • James McMillan – arranger, producer
  • Kevin Milburn – background vocals
  • David Earl Miller – choir/chorus, group member
  • Cindy Mizelle – guest artist, background vocals
  • Rob Mounsey – conductor, guest artist, keyboards, piano, string arrangements
  • Peter Murray – keyboards, piano
  • Peter Nocella – viola
  • Sid Page – violin
  • Alyssa Park – violin
  • Bob Peterson – violin
  • Greg Phillinganes – keyboards
  • Malcolm Pollack – engineer
  • Postmaster – programming
  • James Poyser – piano
  • Karie Prescott – viola
  • Pretty Tony – featured artist, guest artist, primary artist
  • Alex Reverberi – engineer
  • Michele Richards – violin
  • Tim Roberts – assistant
  • Mark Robertson – violin
  • Evan Rogers – producer
  • Jonn Savannah – pro-Tools
  • Jon Smeltz – mixing
  • Dan Smith – cello
  • Richard Sortomme – violin
  • Brian Springer – engineer
  • Ruben Studdard – primary artist, vocals, background vocals
  • Carl Sturken – guitar, keyboards, producer
  • Swizz Beatz – producer
  • Igor Szwec – violin
  • Damon Thomas – group member, producer
  • Gerard Thomas – producer
  • Michael Thompson – guitar
  • Tribe Called Judah – choir/chorus, group
  • The Underdogs – group, instrumentation, producer
  • Josefina Vergara – violin
  • Tommie Walker – drum programming
  • Doc Wiley – engineer
  • Anthony Wilkins – background vocals
  • Evan Wilson – viola
  • Kevin Wilson – assistant engineer, engineer
  • Mike "Hitman" Wilson – engineer
  • John Wittenberg – violin
  • Joey Woolfalk – guitar
  • A.J. Wright – choir/chorus
  • Gavyn Wright – orchestra leader
  • Alexis Yraola – art direction, design
  • Helen Zeigler – choir/chorus, group member

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[13] 1
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[14] 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[15] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Soulful - Ruben Studdard". AllMusic. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Browne, David (December 19, 2003). "Soulful". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  3. ^ Album reviews at CD Universe
  4. ^ a b "Picks and Pans Review: Soulful". People. Time Inc. January 12, 2004. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Walters, Barry (January 7, 2004). "Ruben Studdard: Soulful". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on January 1, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (December 12, 2003). "Ruben Studdard - Soulful". Slant Magazine. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  7. ^ Jones, Steve (December 8, 2003). "Musiq's 'Soulstar' shines; Setzer's 'Daddy' is all grown up". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  8. ^ Variety review
  9. ^ Phipps, Keith (December 16, 2003). "Ruben Studdard: Soulful". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  10. ^ Nelson, Chris (December 18, 2003). "Who Becomes An Idol Most?". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  11. ^ Moss, Corey (March 7, 2006). "'American Idol': No Love For 'Idol' Losers". MTV. Archived from the original on April 11, 2006. Retrieved February 5, 2007.
  12. ^ "Soulful – Ruben Studdard | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  13. ^ "Ruben Studdard Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  14. ^ "Ruben Studdard Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  15. ^ "American album certifications – Ruben Studdard – Soulful". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 3, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.