Category: neo-soul

New Video: clo Returns with Vibey “Big Smile”

clo is an emerging, 20-year-old, San Francisco-born, Brussels-raised, neo-soul/R&B and jazz singer/songwriter, who’s currently splitting her time between New York and Paris, where she’s simultaneously pursuing studies in Neuroscience while modeling, and starting a professional music career. 

The emerging Belgian-born artist can trace the origins of her music career to when she started receiving classical and jazz training in piano when she turned four. Since then, clo has spent much of her formative years creating her own original music, inspired by Etta JamesElla FitzgeraldSnoh Aalegra, and CELESTE

Earlier this year, I wrote about clo’s debut single “room,” a slow-burning and vibey ballad centered around the young Belgian-born artist’s sultry vocals paired with a brooding production featuring skittering, tweeter and woofer rattling trap beats, twinkling jazz piano and atmospheric synths. The song reveals an artist, who’s remarkably self-assured beyond her relative youth — while showcasing an artist, with an uncanny knack for mature, lived-in lyricism and a well-placed, razor sharp hook. 

Her second single “Big Smile” is a vibey, neo-soul-like ballad that finds the emerging young artist collaborating with a live band, which gives the song a lush, cinematic sound and a vibrant, you’re-there-in-the-studio immediacy — all while continuing to reveal a singer/songwriter with a mature beyond her years self-assuredness.

The accompanying video for “Big Smile” primarily features home video shot footage of the young San Francisco-born artist as a small child. The video hints at the very origins of the young artist’s passion and career and a loss of innocence and simplicity.

New Video: Nick Hakim Shares Woozy “Vertigo”

Deriving its name from the Spanish word for “kite,” JOVM mainstay Nick Hakim‘s fourth album Cometa was recorded between studios and domestic spaces throughout Texas, North Carolina, California and New York. Featuring contributions from Alex G. (piano) and Abe Rounds (drums), and collaborations with DJ Dahi, Helado Negro and Arto Lindsay, the 10-song album is a collection of romantic songs written through different lenses, guided by Hakim’s experience of falling in love that made him feel like he was floating. 

That dizzying, out-of-body sensation is the central them that anchors the album’s material, with Hakim using the extreme distance between a kite and a comet as a metaphor for the depth of one’s love for someone else — and being so humbled by it. “The key is to find that extremity of love for yourself,” Hakim says in press notes. “It’s about growing into someone you want to be; it’s about finding pure love within yourself when the world around us seems to be crumbling.”

For Hakim, the purpose of Cometa is less about constructing a narrative around romance and more about exploration through 10 complex compositions woven with aching metaphors throughout. Of course, while for Hakim there are special memories attached to each song, he prefers to leave them open to interpretation, offering the listener a comfortable space to develop their own connections to the material. “I think it’s nice to have love in your life and to have people that are sharing and wanting that,” Hakim explains. “It’s my interpretation of a really romantic way to express love in my own way.”

Last month, I wrote about Cometa‘s first single, “Happen.” Centered around a sparse and unfussy arrangement of strummed guitar, bursts of twinkling keys, atmospheric synths and cymbal-driven percussion paired with Hakim’s breathily cooed delivery. The song sees the JOVM mainstay subtly pushing his sound and approach in a new direction while still maintaining the dreamy and earnest essence at the core of his work. But ultimately, the song evokes the sensation of weightlessness — and then gently floating away beyond your control.

“Vertigo,” Cometa‘s woozy second single is centered around a dusty, analog-like production featuring an arraignment of strummed guitar, skittering boom bap and layers of whirring synths paired with Hakim’s achingly tender vocals. Interestingly, “Vertigo” was the first song recorded for the album — and is inspired by Stevie Wonder, with Hakim layering synths on top of each other to depict the dizzying sensation of trying to stay focused on someone when it feels like the world around you is spinning.

Directed by Asil Baykal, the accompanying video for “Vertigo” was shot in Bosnia-Herzegovina and sees Hakim sitting in a rotating house built by Vojin Kusic, who created the space for his wife, so that she had the ability to change her view at the flip of a switch.

“The making of the video spanned over a transformative year, and our collaborative friendship with Nick became the center of the journey,” Baykal explains. “Initially, Nick showed me a video of a Tuxedomoon performance from Downtown 81. It was filmed in the studio where the camera was spinning in the middle.” She adds, “That idea gave life to the lyrics ‘ Spinnin’, fast as hell can’t tell if it’s me or the room that’s moving’. The room evolved into a moving house by a man who built it for his wife. Love is dizzying with multiple spins.”

Cometa is slated for an October 21, 2022 release through ATO Records.

New Video: Nick Hakim Shares Dreamy Visual for Ethereal “Happen”

Deriving its name from the Spanish word for “kite,” JOVM mainstay Nick Hakim‘s fourth album Cometa was recorded between studios and domestic spaces throughout Texas, North Carolina, California and New York. Featuring contributions from contributions from Alex G. (piano) and Abe Rounds (drums), the 10-song album is a collection of romantic songs written through different lenses, guided by Hakim’s experience of falling in love that made him feel like he was floating.

That dizzying, out-of-body sensation is the central them that anchors the album’s material, with Hakim using the extreme distance between a kite and a comet as a metaphor for the depth of one’s love for someone else — and being so humbled by it. “The key is to find that extremity of love for yourself,” Hakim says in press notes. “It’s about growing into someone you want to be; it’s about finding pure love within yourself when the world around us seems to be crumbling.”

For Hakim, the purpose of Cometa is less about constructing a narrative around romance and more about exploration through 10 complex compositions woven with aching metaphors throughout. Of course, while for Hakim there are special memories attached to each song, he prefers to leave them open to interpretation, offering the listener a comfortable space to develop their own connections to the material. “I think it’s nice to have love in your life and to have people that are sharing and wanting that,” Hakim explains. “It’s my interpretation of a really romantic way to express love in my own way.”

Cometa‘s first single “Happen” is centered around a sparse and unfussy arrangement of strummed guitar, brief bursts of twinkling keys, atmospheric synths and cymbal-driven percussion paired with Hakim’s breathily cooed delivery. The song sees the JOVM mainstay subtly pushing his sound and approach in a new direction while still maintaining the dreamy and earnest essence at the core of his work. And “Happen” may well be the best example of what to expect from the album, as the song evokes the sensation of weightlessness — and then gently floating away beyond your control.

Directed by Johan Carlsson and shot in Roy Andersson’s Studio 24 in Sweden, the accompanying visual is rooted in the concept of “sonder,” the profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passing in the street, has a life with experiences and emotions as vivid and complex as one’s own. The video is a dreamy, slow-motion one-shot that pans to various commuters sharing a train car before closing out on Hakim.

The idea for the video is very simple, we see people on a subway, all busy with their different lives, some are in great spirits and some in deep thoughts maybe because of trouble at work or in their personal life. Sometimes when you’re in a public space you’re not interested in your fellow human beings at all and sometimes looking at them is so interesting that you can’t stop,” Johan Carlsson says of the video. “I hope this video can be an example of when people are interesting to look at, in a way that helps you reflect on your own life. I think Nick’s music is fantastic and has a cinematic and visual quality I hope comes through in the video,” he adds.

Cometa is slated for an October 21, 2022 release through ATO Records.

New Video: James Chatburn and Noah Slee Team Up with Local Musicians in Intimate Visual for Woozy “Do You Wanna Live Like That”

James Chatburn is a rising, Sydney-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and producer. Since relocating to the German capital back in 2015, Chatburn has carved out a reputation for being a highly in-demand singer/songwriter and producer, who has collaborated with acclaimed Aussie hip-hop outfit Hilltop Hoods‘ certified Gold single “Higher,”  rum.goldJordan RakeiNoah SleeSedric Perry, and a growing list of others. As a solo artist, the Sydney-born, Berlin-based JOVM mainstay has developed and honed a sound that meshes elements of soul, blues, electro pop, neo-soul and psych pop with the release of his full-length debut, 2020’s David Tobias co-produced Faible

During the lead-up to Fabile‘s release, I managed to write about three of the album’s singles: 

  • In My House,” a warm and vibey, two-step inducing bit of soul, centered around introspective, earnest songwriting, reverb-drenched guitars and thumping beats.
  • Jewellery and Gold,” one of the album’s more tongue-in-cheek tracks, featuring a narrator looking forward to a future, where he’s flush with cash, and as a result, any of the major issues of his life being settled with that newfound cash — because dollar dollar bill y’all. 
  • The Hurt,” a ballad that saw the Aussie-born, German-based JOVM mainstay express longing and heartache in a way that reminded me quite a bit of Nick Hakim.

Chatburn’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Late Night Howling is forthcoming. The album’s latest single “Do You Wanna Live Like That,” feat. Noah Slee is an expansive and mind-bending take on neo-soul and pop centered around a unique and woozily dynamic song structure that rapidly shifts in tone, time signature and instrumentation: The song’s introduction begins with twinkling pianos in a Latin jazz like tempo before quickly shifting to tweeter and woofer rattling trap beats and then shifting again to a vibey 70s neo-soul-inspired coda. 

Lyrically, the song is intimate and introspective, with its narrator vacillating between self-doubt, analysis, progression and gratefulness. “‘Do You Wanna Live Like That’ is a track I created which ended up kind of being a few different tracks in one, inspired by people like Tyler, The Creator with just these sudden drops and Sault with this vibe – simple not perfect, but just perfectly imperfect,” James Chatburn explains. “Noah Slee and I have been friends basically since we both moved to Berlin, it just took 7 years but we finally got around to releasing a track together.” 

Directed by Dhanesh Jayaselan, the accompanying video is a live performance-styled video shot at Callie’s in Berlin and features Chatburn and Slee with a backing band featuring Berlin-based musicians Tim Granbacka (keys, vocals), Johnny Kulo (guitar, vocals), Adam Sait (bass) and Richard Young (drums). The live footage is intimate and stylish but ends with Chatburn walking over to contemplatively strum an acoustic guitar.

James Chatburn is a rising, Sydney-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and producer. Since relocating to the German capital back in 2015, Chatburn has carved out a reputation for being a highly in-demand singer/songwriter and producer, who has collaborated with acclaimed Aussie hip-hop outfit Hilltop Hoods‘ certified Gold single “Higher,” rum.gold, Jordan Rakei, Noah Slee, Sedric Perry, and a growing list of others. As a solo artist, the Sydney-born, Berlin-based JOVM mainstay has developed and honed a sound that meshes elements of soul, blues, electro pop, neo-soul and psych pop with the release of his full-length debut, 2020’s David Tobias co-produced Faible.

During the lead-up to Fabile‘s release, I managed to write about three of the album’s singles:

  • In My House,” a warm and vibey, two-step inducing bit of soul, centered around introspective, earnest songwriting, reverb-drenched guitars and thumping beats.
  • Jewellery and Gold,” one of the album’s more tongue-in-cheek tracks, featuring a narrator looking forward to a future, where he’s flush with cash, and as a result, any of the major issues of his life being settled with that newfound cash — because dollar dollar bill y’all. 
  • The Hurt,” a ballad that saw the Aussie-born, German-based JOVM mainstay express longing and heartache in a way that reminded me quite a bit of Nick Hakim.

Chatburn’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Late Night Howling is forthcoming. The album’s latest single “Do You Wanna Live Like That,” feat. Noah Slee is an expansive and mind-bending take on neo-soul and pop centered around a unique and woozily dynamic song structure that rapidly shifts in tone, time signature and instrumentation: The song’s introduction begins with twinkling pianos in a Latin jazz like tempo before quickly shifting to tweeter and woofer rattling trap beats and then shifting again to a vibey 70s neo-soul-inspired coda.

Lyrically, the song is intimate and introspective, with its narrator vacillating between self-doubt, analysis, progression and gratefulness. “‘Do You Wanna Live Like That’ is a track I created which ended up kind of being a few different tracks in one, inspired by people like Tyler, The Creator with just these sudden drops and Sault with this vibe – simple not perfect, but just perfectly imperfect,” James Chatburn explains. “Noah Slee and I have been friends basically since we both moved to Berlin, it just took 7 years but we finally got around to releasing a track together.” 

New Video: Belgian-born Artist clo Shares Sultry and Self-Assured “Room”

clo is a 20-year-old, emerging, Brussels-born neo-soul/R&B and jazz singer/songwriter, who’s currently splitting her time between New York and Paris, where she’s simultaneously pursuing studies in Neuroscience while modeling, and a professional music career.

The emerging Belgian-born artist can trace the origins of her music career to when she started receiving classical and jazz training in piano when she turned four. Since then, clo has spent much of her formative years creating her own original music, inspired by Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Snoh Aalegra, and CELESTE.

clo’s debut single “room” is a slow-burning and vibey ballad centered around the young Belgian-born artist’s sultry vocals paired with a brooding production featuring skittering, tweeter and woofer rattling trap beats, twinkling jazz piano and atmospheric synths. The song reveals an artist, who’s remarkably self-assured beyond her relative youth — while showcasing an artist, with an uncanny knack for mature, lived-in lyricism and a well-placed, razor sharp hook.

The accompanying video follows the young Belgian-born artist on a glorious summer day through beautiful Paris.

With a handful of singles, the rising, British neo-soul andhip-hop outfit Gotts Street Park — Josh Crocker (bass, production), Tom Henry (keys) and Joe Harris (guitar) have quickly amassed fans and acclaim from an impressive array of artists while working with Rejje Snow, Kali Uchis, Cosima, Yellow Days, Chester Watson, Celeste, Rosie Lowe, and a growing list of others.

Last year’s Diego EP, which featured a collection of compositions informed by the raw energy of being together and creating in the same room, served as a further introduction to the rising British trio.

Building upon a growing profile both nationally and internationally, the members of Gotts Street Park, along with Blue Flowers/[PIAS] shared their latest single, “Lost & Found,” a slow-burning and vibey bit of neo-soul featuring Charlotte Dos Santos’ self-assured and soulful vocal delivery, shimmering and reverb-drenched Rhodes and synths paired with a two-step inducing groove formed by a supple bass line and skittering boom bap.

“’Lost & Found’ is a song about falling in love and not being able to forget about a person. It’s about being in all shades of love,” Dos Santos explains in press notes.

Interestingly, the single, which was recorded between Leeds and New York, where Dos Santos was based at the time, can trace its origins back to when the Norwegian-born and currently Berlin-based singer/songwriter and the rising British outfit worked together on her most recent album.

“​​The instrumental track was from a batch of jams that were recorded during lockdown,” Gotts Street Park’s Josh Crocker explains. “Charlotte heard the instrumental whilst some of us were working with her on her record last year, we’d been looking for a way to collaborate and this one jumped out as being really well-suited to her.”

Anna Stubbs is a London-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, best known for being one-half of forward-thinking London-based nu jazz/broken beat act Brotherly. Stubbs steps out into the limelight as a solo artist with her solo recording Kinzoogianna.

Stubbs’ Kinzoogianna full-length debut Gold For The Hungry Souls is slated for an August release through Brotherly/Kudos Records. Featuring a backing band of Rob Mullarkey (bass) and Richard Spaven (drums), Gold For The Hungry Souls will be comprised of “an epic, nu-jazz, soul collection of nine, quirky and memorable songs with hooky, unexpected grooves and harmonies,” according to Stubbs.

“Cinnamon Bun,” Gold For The Hungry Souls‘ first single is a dazzling mix of Quiet Storm piano-led soul centered around Stubbs’ easy-going powerhouse vocals, twinkling synths within an expansive, mind-bending song structure held together with some razor sharp hooks. Lyrically and thematically, the song captures life’s small joys — getting up in the morning next to a lover, after a night of lovemaking, coffee and sticky, sweet cinnamon buns and so on with a loving specificity.

New Video: Mama’s Gun Shares a Surreal and Comic “Thriller”-Inspired Visual for “Party For One”

Deriving their name from Erykah Badu‘s acclaimed and beloved album Mama’s Gun, the London-based soul outfit Mama’s Gun — currently, Andy Platts, Cameron Dawson, David Oliver, Terry Lewis and Chris Boot — formed back in 2008. And since their formation, they’ve released four full-length albums: 2009’s Routes to Riches, which broke big in Japan and eventually lead to the British band being the most played international artist on Japanese radio that year; 2011’s Life and Soul; 2014’s Cheap Hotel; and 2018’s Golden Days.

Adding to a growing profile, the London-based soul outfit have opened for Level 42Beverley KnightBen l’Oncle Soul and Raphael Saadiq while developing a fanbase across Southeast Asia — in particular South Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore.

Now, if you’ve been following this site over the past few weeks, you might recall that the rising London-based soul outfit began the year with the “Party For One”/”Looking for Moses” double A-side single. Released earlier this month, the double A single serves as a teaser for the band’s highly-anticipated fifth album Cure The Jones.

Written and produced during the pandemic by the band’s Andy Platts’ with additional soundscaping from the band’s Chriss Bott, Cure The Jones was recorded direct-to-tape with an array of analog gear at Platts’ home studio in a breakneck three day session. The album, which is slated for an April 1. 2022 release through the band’s Candelion Records with Secretly Group and Colemine Records is reportedly informed and inspired by the spirit of conscious late ’60s and ’70s soul (think Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye) and the turbulence of the past couple of years. While being a lush, nuanced meditation on a world turned upside down, the album thematically explores and touches upon love, loss, and life through the most pressing sociopolitical issues of our day.

Double A-side single and album single “Party For One” is a slow-burning and strutting bit of 70s psych soul and neo-soul centered around the sort of low-slung and wobbling bass line that would make Bootsy Collins proud, a lush horn line, fluttering psychedelic effects and Andy Platts’ dreamy falsetto. “Party For One” points out a bitter irony that even loners and homebodies felt during pandemic-related lockdowns — sometimes, you just want to see and talk to another human adult.

“Lyrically ‘Party For One’ comes from me being a bit of a loner – I like my own company and space to create, think and reflect,” the band’s Andy Platts explains. “I was in my ideal world during the early stages of the pandemic, on my own and with no one around, but I was mourning the company of strangers. There is something in anonymous togetherness that is the stuff of life.” 

Directed and edited by Chip Creative, the recently released video for “Party For One” is a surreal and comic romp featuring the band and their family and friends on a night out that turns into a low-budget Thriller, which includes werewolves and a dance routine.

Steven Bamidele is a Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, has been developing and honing his sound and approach for the better part of the past decade, beginning his career performing as Mirror Signal between 2013 and 2017. In 2017, he decided to drop the moniker, to write and record with his real given name and his Nigerian mother’s maiden name. But regardless of what he called himself, the Brighton-based singer/songwriter has focused on crafting emotionally-driven music that meshes elements of soul and pop.

Bamidele relocated to Brighton back in 2018 and over the following year, he played as many shows as humanly possible, earning a foothold in both Brighton and London. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting live music at an indefinite pause, the Brighton-based artist has been busy producing music for other artists in home studio, as well as working on new, original music — including his debut EP, which is slated for release later this year through Park The Van. (I should mention that Bamidele is the first non-rock signee to the label, as well.)

In the meantime, Bamidele’s latest single “What Happens Afterwards,” features Dave Bryce on an expansive, slow-burning, neo-soul-inspired track centered around twinkling Rhodes, shimmering synths, a sinuous two-step-inducing strutting groove, Bamidele’s achingly tender falsetto. Interestingly, the song is a heady mix of longing, wishful thinking, regret and a desire to move forward that captures how complicated and confusing love and lust can be.