Chicago based singer/songwriter Aleem may be an artist you are currently unaware of, but having recently opened for Fifth Harmony on tour, it is clear he is determined to follow in the footsteps of international male solo pop successes Shawn Mendes and Jacob Whitesides to household name status. As he launches his debut EP, Open Letters, it is clear from the title that he promises to be an artist who wears his heart on his sleeve.
While lyrically he is open to a degree, the subject matter on Open Letters is nowhere near as deep or explorative as Jacob Whitesides, nor does he boast the immediate radio appeal of Shawn Mendes, so where exactly does he fit into the market place?
Aleem certainly ticks several of the boxes needed to be a teen heartthrob. He has the looks, even if he is further from his teenage years the aforementioned. He has a strong vocal. It may not be the most distinctive but it is easy on the ears. He understands the need for a chorus, but lacks the memorable factor. But with tweaks he could easily tick the right boxes for pop success.
That being said, the soulful undertone to his vocal and the stand-out appeal of We’ll Get This Right, the stripped back and most emotionally real number on a four track EP that veers towards produced pop, it may be wiser for him to rethink his branding. He could easily excel in a slightly different market area with an older demographic.
Although there is enjoyment in listening to his debut EP, the forgettable factor of the pleasant Are We Gonna Make It and Inside Out means it doesn’t really shine as brightly as he intended.