I am at Manhattan’s Dive Bar, reminiscent of a Prohibition back-door saloon, having a whiskey. Setting up instruments are friends and folks who make amazing music. It is one of the best luxuries of being an artist—my friends are folks making great art in most disciplines.

Tonight beautiful diva of an opening act Tarrah Reynolds gives way to 31-year-old Norman Vladimir.

Of course, I am floored by the infectious nature of his tone and the power of his voice. The man can sing, and does it with a style clearly born from studying the greats.

The Tennessee native found music early and turned his love for R&B, country and gospel into a homebrew of special tunes. Bobby McFerrin, Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers are all evident in his approach. Not that Norman Vladimir sounds like them, but the multilayered vocals, good writing and easy vocal power are also trademarks of those masters.

Living in the Big Apple hasn’t tainted or ruined Vladimir’s voice or his approach. The guitar-playing balladeer simply fits in—in the choir, on a stage of stars, or with the baddest players. This night he was fronted traveling pros who’ve rocked with John Forte, Anthony David, John Legend and Roy Ayers.

Norman Vladimir is a gem of an artist who needs to finish up his EP (entitled No More Obligations) soon. Until then, enjoy… — Tai Allen

Portions of Norman Vladimir’s forthcoming No More Obligations can be heard at NormanVladimir.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @normanvladimir.

Tai Allen is the creative director of the arts & design collective, vicelounge. Check out their latest designs, poetry and music at vicelounge.com, and follow vicelounge on Twitter @vicelounge

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