Personnel: Steven Cruz, Hugo Gómez, La Primera, Robinson Hernandez (guitar); Dan Warner (electric guitar); Tony Rijos (banjo); Daniel Garcia, Orlando Forte, Juan Arauza, Michael Guillen (vihuela); Ronald Campo (violin); Darwin Araujo (trumpet); D'Lesly "Dice" Lora, Sergio George (piano); Angel Vasquez (keyboards); Adan Gomez, Christopher Mercedes (bongos); Arthur Hanlon (drum programming).
Recording information: Bennett Studios, Englewood, NJ; El Estudio D'Oro La Perla, PR; GML Recording, Miami, FL; Polo Parra Studio, Republica Dominicana; The Hit Factory, Miami, FL; Top Stop Music Studios, Delray Beach, FL.
Photographer: Mateo Garcia.
Having taken a few more cues from the R&B crowd -- like dropping his trademark "Royyyyyccce" at the beginning of tracks -- Prince Royce's mix of urban, bachata, and Latin pop felt especially fresh and exciting as this sophomore effort landed on shelves, but this ballad-driven release is far from gimmicky. From the massive "it's the little things" hit "Los Cosas Pequeñas," to the broad and uplifting dance-pop of "It's My Time," Prince Royce proves himself to be a talented, heartfelt singer, pulling a lot of soul out of a soft, amiable -- you could even call if featherweight -- voice. It's that light bit of his delivery that makes him approachable, and even if he's got the pedigree of a Dominican kid growing up in oh-so-cool N.Y.C., he's both hip and growing increasingly true to the music, delivering the album's more Bieber, Black Eyed Peas, and Selena moments in a style that's connectable over just crossover. With the genre-spanning and the man's delivery both more natural, the rewarding Phase II is a substantial step up from Royce's debut. ~ David Jeffries