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In 1995, after playing a concert for students at Huffman High School in Birmingham, AL, Eric Essix met a young Ruben Studdard. Ruben’s fellow students persuaded him to sing and Eric listened in amazement and said “young man that voice will take you wherever you want to go in the music industry.” Eight years later, Ruben became the second winner of the hit television show, American Idol! 

Eric and Ruben have, over the years, discussed one day working in the studio together and, when considering possible collaborations for his new album “Stride”, Eric knew he would be the perfect person to sing his arrangement of the Bill Withers classic, “Ain’t No Sunshine”. 

“My goal when covering an iconic piece of music like this, is to try and preserve the character and soul of the song while creating instrumental moments that will compliment rather than distract from it,” Eric says. “This song is so elegant in its simplicity. It’s a study in songwriting where the lyrics tell a complete story with very few words and Bill Withers delivers a vocal performance that is both understated and stunning. I believe Ruben’s interpretation is one that Mr. Withers would have approved and it was an absolute joy and honor to work with him on it.” 

The single is the first from Eric’s new album, “Stride” the follow up to his “Songs From The Deep” album which was released in 2020 and produced the radio hits “Late Night Drive” and “The Deep”. It is Eric’s 28th album as a solo artist since his debut, “First Impressions” in 1989. The new album's release is set for July 1, 2022.

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