Years before kicking off his career as a sharp, soulful songwriter and first-rate vocalist, Tim Halperin spent countless hours by the family record player as a child, listening to classic pop, Motown, and R&B records.
"I would play my mom's copy of Michael Jackson's Off the Wall nonstop," he remembers. "There was a lot of Stevie Wonder and the Temptations in the mix, too, as well as some James Taylor and Neil Diamond. It was this cool combination of pop smashes and blue-collar songwriters."
With his newest release, Chances, Halperin ramps up the beat and bounce of his own sound, nodding to the pop music he heard during those childhood listening sessions. Filled with horn arrangements, super-sized choruses, and hooks reminiscent of 1980s radio hits, Chances bridges the gap between past and present, connecting Halperin's influences with something modern. At the core of the album is Halperin's voice — a soulful instrument that earned him a spot on American Idol in 2011, laying the brickwork for a career that's since sent Halperin to Number One on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart — and a reliance on honest, heartfelt songwriting.
If the seven songs on Chances sound bright and optimistic, it's because Halperin has every reason to count his blessings. He's a married man who's been making music for a living for nearly a decade. His music has been heard in venues across the country, thanks to a touring history that includes shows alongside Jason Derulo, Kelly Clarkson, and the Fray. Companies like Apple and L'Oréal have handpicked his music to help promote their products. Why shouldn't he be happy?
On the giddy "Weightless," he mixes polished pop and percussive R&B in equal doses, gluing everything together with lyrics about his wife. "This song came at a time when everything seemed to be going my way," he says of the track. "I wanted it to evoke the feeling of being weightless, where nothing can drag you down."
Elsewhere, Halperin channels Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars during "Work For It," then rides a percussive groove with "Call Me Crazy." The album's funky closer, "Break For It," channels the glory days of Motown, while other songs pay tribute to the glory days of Reagan-era pop music. It's a sound that targets the heart, head, and feet — a sound that's built not only for the stage, but also for the dance floor.
For years, Halperin has built his audience the old-school way: by hitting the road and playing shows, banging away at his keyboard while singing songs about his own life. Chances finds him turning a new page. There's plenty of piano here, but it's joined by danceable drumbeats, thumping bass, horns, and even the occasional gospel choir. The result is the most immediate-sounding record of his career, with songs that plant one foot in the familiar appeal of his influences and point the other toward new, unexplored territory. Halperin is taking chances… and those chances are paying off.