New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Blak Emoji Shares Funky “Mainstay”

New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Kelsey Warren has had a lengthy and accomplished career: Over the past two decades, Warren has been in a number of different projects as a side man, hired gun and/or frontman, including Denise Barbarita and the Morning Papers, and Pillow Theory among others.

Warren started his latest project Blak Emoji back in 2015. Initially started as a solo project wit a rotating cast of players for live shows, Blak Emoji gradually evolved into a full-fledged band led by Warren and featuring Sylvana Joyce (keytar), Bryan Percival (bass, keys) and Max Tholenaar-Maples (drums). Whether as a solo project or as a band, Blak Emoji has been Warren expand his sound and approach to include a slick synthesis of the soul, R&B and pop that he was immersed in while growing up in South New Jersey, hip-hop, punk, minimalist classical and synth-driven music like Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails and Prince, among others.

Since then, Warren has been rather busy. With Blak Emoji, Warren has released two EPs and two albums, which have received praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Afropunk, The Line of Best Fit, BUST, Popmuzik. Vampire Freaks, Ghost Cult Magazine, this site, and many others. And adding to a growing profile, “Velvet Ropes & Dive Bars, and “Poison To Medicine” appeared on ABC’s Quantico while “Sapiosexual” appeared in several indie films. Along with that Warren has been busy as a producer, collaborating with an eclectic array of artists.

Earlier this year, Warren signed with Blake Morgan‘s ECR Music Group for a four-part, full catalog re-issue from the label. The first re-issue is a Deluxe, remastered edition of Warren’s acclaimed album Electero. Slated for an early 2023 release through ECR Music Group, the acclaimed album has been re-sequenced and remastered by Blake Morgan. “I’ve loved and respected Blak Emoji’s work for years,” Morgan says. “I’m thrilled to have him join our roster, and honored to have had the opportunity to remaster his catalog for these stunning ECR reissues.”

Electro Deluxe and Remastered’s lead single “Mainstay” is slinky, dance floor friendly, 80s-inspired synth funk featuring strutting and wobbling bass synths, boom bap beats, a sinuous bass line, squiggling Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar paired with Warren’s sultry cooing. Much like the handful of other Blak Emoji singles I’ve written about over the years, “Mainstay” is rooted in Warren’s seamless and funky meshing of his various influences and his unerring knack for well-placed, razor sharp hooks.

Blak Emoji’s new single “Mainstay” is out now on ECR Music Group. “Mainstay” is the lead single from the forthcoming Deluxe-Edition version of his new, remastered album Eclectro, out in early 2023. The celebrated album has been re-sequenced and remastered by indie-music luminary and ECR founder Blake Morgan, as part of a four-part full catalog reissue from the label. “I’ve loved and respected Blak Emoji’s work for years,” says Morgan. “I’m thrilled to have him join our roster, and honored to have had the opportunity to remaster his catalog for these stunning ECR reissues.” Blak Emoji is the nom de plume of acclaimed New York City producer, recording artist, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Kelsey Warren.