At a time when some of pop music’s most prominent urban male superstars are under public and media scrutiny for the way they treat and portray women personally, and in their music, South Jersey native and upstart Inspirational R & B singer /songwriter Jeff Murrell. Jeff Murrell is a godsend and breath of fresh air, who bucks an alarming trend that many of his fellow male contemporaries continue to fuel and exploit. Murrell’s debut EP, “Beautiful,” is infused with five gut-wrenching and heartfelt songs encouraging female empowerment and self-respect, delivered with his silky, soulful, and compelling vocal touch. Murrell teamed with multi-platinum and Grammy nominated veteran songwriter/producer Herb Middleton (Mary J. Blige, Usher, Will Smith, Al Green, Faith Evans) on his debut, which took the tandem three years of scraping and scrambling to finance and record, before finishing and deciding to release it independently. “My intent with the project is to reach women who may be in a bad relationship, have been abandoned, abused, never had a positive male or father figure in their life, or who may lack self-esteem and respect, and hopefully encourage and inspire them,” attests Murrell. “If the songs make them sing, lift their spirit, help them believe in themselves, and show them someone love and cares about them, then my mission will be accomplished.” Murrell’s subtle and sensitive approach isn’t designed to be condescending or preachy. The title track, “Beautiful” has an infectious groove and anthem-like tribute that should resonate with all women. Another track, “Round Away Girl,” is devoted to inner city teens and young females, who have never been loved, had a father, or had a positive male influence in their life. Other tracks, “Whatever It Is,” “Inhale,” and “Interference,” aptly display Murrell’s penchant for offering uplifting and reinforcing messages to help women battle through tough love and rocky relationships. Born and raised in Magnolia, New Jersey, Murrell cut his teeth opening up locally for a list of contemporary gospel stalwarts including, Mary, Mary, Byron Cage, Smokie Norful, John P Kee, and Martha Munizzi, among others. He has also recorded and performed as a background vocalist with r & b/urban stars Glenn Jones, Anne Nesby, Coko (of SWV fame), and sang background on a four-month national concert tour with Musiq Soulchild. After high school, he also enrolled and graduated from a recording engineering school that offered an 18-month program. Murrell’s artistic passion and spiritually motivated sense of purpose are anchored by his family roots, which were embedded in the church. As the youngest of three siblings, he didn’t inherit any musical lineage from his family, but was heavily influenced by his childhood idols, Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Boyz II Men and Fred Hammond. He accepted the challenge of performing his first choir solo, at age 5, and that auspicious debut triggered a lasting and close relationship with his musical minister, who mentored and tutored him as choir member and soloist into his late teens. When he was 17, the day after Christmas, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. After putting up a courageous battle over the next fifteen months, she finally succumbed to the disease. He also suffered the lost of an older brother to kidney failure. To some, losing such cherished love ones would cause insurmountable pain and adversity, but Murrell’s unfailing faith in God and a resilient inner fortitude, gave him the strength to endure and keep moving forward. “My mother instilled and convinced me God could take anything and anyone and make it beautiful,” he confessed. She also taught me how precious women are, by the way she lived, and how she loved us, so I credit and owe her for the kind of man and artist I aspire to be.” Murrell is a throwback of sorts, in the ilk of classic crooners like Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Luther Vandross and Babyface, whose music exuded an acute sensitivity, appreciation and respect for the feminine perspective and psyche. Murrell has an ominous and daunting task to find an audience and record buyers as an independent artist, but his refreshing and poignant messages should endear him to the ladies, and give him a shot to grab a bevy of his own accolades one day.