Rian Peters is a rising London-born, Vancouver-based soul vocalist, best known in music circles as IAMTHELIVING. As a child Peters green up listening to the likes of Michael Jackson, Prince and Steve Wonder — all of which have influenced his work. Following his musical destiny, Peters relocated to Vancouver, where he’s developed and honed a distinct yet versatile sound.
Teon Gibbs is a rising Botswana-born, emcee and producer, who as a child spent time living in South Africa, Angola and the UK before eventually settling in Vancouver. As an artist and producer, Gibbs has developed and honed a sound and approach that blurs genre lines.
The duo met in their adoptive hometown and quickly started a successful collaboration that resulted in a handful of attention grabbing singles including “Puppa” and “Between The Groove” and “The Distance,” which quickly established the duo’s sound — a dance floor friendly mix of 90s R&B and 2000s British R&B. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the duo will be releasing their seven-song debut EP together JNGL. Slated for release in June 2, 2021 release through Tiny Kingdom Music, the EP reportedly finds the duo continuing to craft dance floor friendly pop based on a meeting of the minds between two artists from very different yet simultaneously very similar backgrounds.
“We wanted to create a project that embodies who we are, where we’re from, and shows what we can do. The word “JNGL” just seemed to capture it all. Being from Botswana, the word jungle has followed me around my entire life, and IAMTHELIVING is originally from South London, which is the concrete jungle – this project is those worlds meeting…” Gibbs explains in press notes. ” “The sounds on this project are big and diverse but at the same time we really took a grassroots approach to making it, I think that’s why even though the sound fills the room it can still resonate with the listener’s core.”
But along with making folks hit the dance floor, the duo collaboration is fueled by their desire to lead by example for other Black voices to connect in their city. “We really feel like we’ve created our own little lane and we can really shed light on how dope the Vancouver music scene is,” the duo say.
JNGL‘s latest single, “Boxes” prominently pairs IAMTHELIVING’s silky smooth croon and Gibbs’ dexterous and dense wordplay and laid-back delivery over a vibey, two-step inducing production featuring a sinuous bass line, twinkling Rhodes, shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering beats and an infectious hook that may remind listeners of Montell Jordan‘s “Get It On Tonite.”
Directed by Joseph Carney, the recently released video for “Boxes” is a gorgeously shot yet hilarious send-up of love, delusion (perhaps influenced by drugs and drink), longing, heartbreak and cruel rejection.