“This delightful CD of classic love songs puts you in the mood for romance with its sensuous crooning by Nhojj and rich orchestration led by pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, Marcelo Cardozo and many other top session musicians.
This album is Nhojj’s contribution to the beloved standards of the American songbook, and the classic jazz, showtunes, and R&B music we have grown to love, with fresh interpretations and memorable arrangements. Nhojj delivers a beautiful rendition of India Arie’s “He Heals Me” and a Reggae-infused interpretation of the Holland, Dozier, Holland classic “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).” Other tracks include George and Ira Gershwin’s “Someone To Watch Over Me” and “Our Love Is Here To Stay,” the Harburg/Arlen classic “Over The Rainbow,” as well as more contemporary classics from Stevie Wonder (I Was Made To Love Him), Luther Vandross (So Amazing), and Beyoncé Knowles (Love On Top). Of special note is an original and very touching composition by Nhojj, “Waiting For You.”
That this lush album is also a tribute to same-gender love, is yet one more reason to add it to your collection.” – Stephen Maglott
This is Nhojj’s strongest project to date. There is a standing challenge that the TRUE singers must always face: how does he/she capture the magic that comes from live performances and lay it down in the studio while keeping that magic intact? This is a very difficult task, because most attempts fall prey to one of two missteps: either over-singing or over-producing. With “Made to Love Him: Celebrating Love,” Nhojj shows his growing artistry, deftly interpreting songs ranging from 1920’s Gershwin to 2010’s Beyonce.
Each song is tastefully arranged and sparingly but cleverly produced. “How Sweet it Is (To Be Loved by You)” is a delightfully bouncy romp tinged with a taste of the Caribbean. Nhojj’s voice is smooth and sure in Luther Vandross’s “So Amazing.” He includes himself in this collection of covers by breathing new life into his song, “Waiting for You,” previously released in 2001’s “I’ve Been Waiting for You.” And yes, I cheered as he handily nailed all four modulations of Beyonce’s “Love on Top” with no hint of strain nor shrill.
But without a doubt, the crowning jewel of this project is “He Heals Me.” With this India Arie cover, Nhojj’s cooing voice invites me inside and guides me through its elaborate melody. As the song rises to its climax, Nhojj’s voice soars in turn, holding me aloft, carrying me above the clouds. It was only at the end of the track, after he had gently set me down back on earth, that I realized that my face was wet with tears. This six minute slice of heaven is only one example from “Made to Love Him” that proves that Nhojj has successfully accomplished his mission. He brings his brand of magic to the studio and makes its essence accessible to all. Well done, my friend. Well done. – Donell