Leslie and Yousra
Image Credit: YZ

Dubai: Hey Guys listen up! This is a tricky one.

What would you say of someone asked you to name the male vocalist with the best voice ever? Not the best singer, but the Dude with the most incredible voice.

And what if that someone, happened to be your boss, who was staring deep into your eyes to see if you were going to cook up a quick answer, to save yourself from embarrassment, or was actually waiting for an honest choice.

Before I tell you what I said let me remind you that I was thinking that whatever I said, perhaps the boss already had his mind made up, just like all bosses do.

Who had the best voice of all time? My mind was working nineteen to the dozen. That’s a tough question to ask, Sir, and a little unfair! Because we know that music has hundreds of genres and it’s hard to compare one voice from one genre to another voice from another genre,

Hope you’re on the same page as me and feeling what I was feeling as I switched into retro mode, called on all the algorithms that I knew to sift through all the great voices that I remember.

The names came flooding through my memory – Al Green, Ben E Cook, Lou Rawls, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Barry White. Stop!

The name must be somewhere out there. I had to be quick, I had to pick correctly, and I had to take my chance.

And then I blurted out Bill Withers… just like that. My mouth was speaking by itself. My brain was buzzing. Even after I called out Bill ahead of Al, Marvin, Stevie, Elvis, Frank.

I had done it. I had given the boss my answer. It was his turn to shoot it down or shake my hand, in acknowledgement.

He did not and I felt that I had blown it.

He began to smile and just said - Grover Washington Jr. Just that.

And then I smiled back, even bigger. My favourite, I killed it smile.

Because the boss was wrong! The late great Grover Washington Jr did not actually sing, he was essential a saxophone player who pioneered the smooth jazz movement and the song that the boss was thinking about, the one that he thought was sung by his greatest voice, Grover, was actually sung by Bill Withers – Just The Two of Us.

“Did you mean Just the Two of Us,” I asked it with a touch of cockiness.

“Yes!” he replied, flashing his ‘I told you’ look.

“But Grover did not sing ‘Just the Two of Us’, I counter. Bill Withers did. Silence.

Remember ‘Lean on Me’, ‘Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone,’ ‘Lovely Day’, I said, naming songs that epitomized the quiet storm of Wither’s shimmery R&B genius.

Everyone has an opinion when it comes to picking out the best from the best…. but strange as it may seem, and I’m not lying, the Boss and I had picked the same singer!