Recorded with production team of Dre and Vidal (A Touch of Jazz alumni Andre Lewis and Vidal Davis), World Outside My Window was Glenn Lewis’ soulful, slow-burning debut album.
Although he initially set out to be an animator, Lewis followed his ambition (and his father’s footsteps) to sing, and broke through via series of guest appearances and singles in his native Canada. Signing with Epic, he created this sensual album of tender, emotional ballads and mid-paced RnB jams.
With strings arranged by Philadelphia production legend Larry Gold and emerging out of a vinyl crackle, the album sets its stall out early – this is sumptuous neo-soul with its feet in the past and its eyes on the future.
On Don’t You Forget It, Lewis couldn’t have paraded his influences more blatantly. In its video, Lewis lies in a vinyl-strewn flat amid Sly Stone, Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye albums; this was an artist determined to show, to quote his hero Stevie Wonder, where he was coming from.
In fact, Wonder loved the record so much that he invited Lewis to guest on a radio show with him, singing his song back to him.
World Outside My Window rarely rises above a languorous pace, but that is no bad thing. Something To See is a pretty love song with all the hallmarks of classic soul, and Never Too Late is full of the drama of a man on the verge of losing his lover. One More Day is a rare up-tempo moment, all 70s RnB electric piano and heavy bass.
The album was a huge success in the US, buoyed by a support slot on the Alicia Keys tour. But Lewis didn’t cross over commercially to the UK.
At the time of writing, World Outside My Window remains Glenn Lewis’ only album release. Follow-ups were planned, largely recorded and then abandoned. He has recently linked up again with Dre and Vidal, and a new album is promised.
But until then, World Outside My Window remains a polished, heartfelt collection of sincerely delivered RnB.