Oct 192012

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

Rumer is one of those performers who works for years to become an overnight success; she won Mojo’s 2011 Best Breakthrough Act award more than a decade after she started performing. One listen to her and you’ll wonder what took the world so long. Her voice is regularly compared to Karen Carpenter’s, and she doesn’t just sound at home singing the soft-pop sound of ’70s AM radio – she makes that sound matter like no one else has dared to in a long time.

MP3: Rumer – Sara Smile (Hall & Oates cover)
Speaking of homes, Rumer appeared on Live from Daryl’s House, the web show featuring Daryl “The Blond One” Hall inviting a guest to his house and visiting/cooking/performing with them. One of the songs she performed was a cover of Hall & Oates’s “Sara Smile,” which also appeared on Boys Don’t Cry, an all-cover album exclusively populated by male singer-songwriters of the ’70s. Hall liked it, and who can blame him?

MP3: Rumer – Alfie (Burt Bacharach cover)
How do you know when you’ve impressed Burt Bacharach? He invites you to his home in California to hear you sing, and then writes a number of songs for you. That’s happened to Rumer, and she proves herself worthy of his work here in her cover of “Alfie.” As Bacharach himself said, “She really delivers the goods.”

MP3: Rumer – It Might Be You (Stephen Bishop cover)
Remember the song that played in Tootsie while Dustin Hoffman looked longingly at Jessica Lange, and Charles Durning looked longingly at Dustin Hoffman? That was easy-listening favorite Stephen Bishop singing “It Might Be You.” Successful as the song was in its setting, Rumer’s performance is a vast improvement – aside from rendering the wimp factor irrelevant, she restores the romance and the hopes of a lifetime of togetherness in such a way that no one can snicker at it anymore.

MP3: Rumer – Love and Affection (Joan Armatrading cover)
Rumer remakes Joan Armatrading’s biggest success, “Love and Affection”; now it’s more alluring than appealing to its target audience, and the ending doesn’t settle so much as it gently snaps.

MP3: Rumer – Come Saturday Morning (The Sandpipers cover)
The Sandpipers got an Oscar nomination for their rendition of “Come Saturday Morning,” on the soundtrack to The Sterile Cuckoo. Both the movie and the song have become half-forgotten in the intervening years, but in this performance, Rumer brings it all back, and her gorgeous vocal here will have you remembering this song long after Saturday’s gone.

Learn more about Rumer on her official website.

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