Highlights: Nathan Sykes, ‘Unfinished Business’

Nathan Sykes, Unfinished Business © Def Jam


Former boy bander (and Ariana Grande ex) Nathan Sykes shows off his vocal chops throughout his debut album, ‘Unfinished Business.’

Who is Nathan Sykes? Nathan Sykes is the youngest member of now defunct boy band The Wanted. Also, less pertinent to his musical pedigree, he is a former boyfriend of Ariana Grande. But this isn’t about The Wanted or Ari – Sykes releases his debut solo album, Unfinished Business.

“Good Things Come to Those Who Wait”

Unfinished Business opens with a bang thanks to “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait.”  Kicking off with vocal pad and heavy, buttressing kick drum, it fuels Sykes’ fire for sure.  Vocally from the jump he shows off his mad pipes which are soulful through and through.  Pre-release single “Kiss Me Quick” follows up in all its pop-soul glory. Slickly produced featuring a jazzy harmonic progression, Sykes is in his wheelhouse.  The question is, how could any gal resist those pipes?

 “I Can’t Be Mad” 

“I Can’t Be Mad” arrives timely, pulling back pace in favor of balladry.  Naturally, this particularly record shows another side of Sykes vocally.  Two things stick out: (1) how he pulls back initially (2) his falsetto.  Still, his inner tiger shows up at just the right moments.


Standout Famousreignites parallels to the past, set in a lilting 6/8 and accompanied by bluesy guitar.  Think of “Famous” as an updated Sam Cooke song.  The premise is simple: the authenticity of love. Sykes suggests the girl that he’s into but isn’t into him will be into him when he becomes famous, which isn’t genuine.

“But will you call me when I’m famous / when I’m famous / would you call my name? / will you call me when I’m famous / when I’m famous / will you call my name? / when I’m famous.”

The groovy, danceable “Give it Up” keeps the swag going strong.  “Give it Up” is a hit from jump. To seal the deal, Bay area breakout G-Eazy assists. Sykes is “ON.” The soul is ripe on

The deluxe edition of Unfinished Business ‘ups the ante,’ adding four additional songs: “Tears in the Rain,” “Over and Over Again” (duet with Ariana Grande), “Taken,” and “Burn Me Down.” “Tears in the Rain” is a can’t-miss.

Final Thoughts

All in all, Nathan Sykes impresses on his debut Unfinished Business.  The effort as a whole is well produced featuring numerous catchy and enjoyable songs.  As infectious as the material is, the star is always Sykes who possesses a magnificent voice.  Unfinished Business is one of the biggest surprises of the year.

Gems: “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait,” “Kiss Me Quick,” “I Can’t Be Mad,” “Famous” & “Give It Up” (ft. G-Eazy) & “Tears in the Rain”

Nathan Sykes • Unfinished Business • Global Entertainment / Def Jam • Release: 11.11.16
Photo Credit: Def Jam

A full track-by-track review of the album can be found at The Musical Hype.

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