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 Blak Emoji back in 2015. Initially conceived as a solo recording project with a rotating cast of players for live shows, Blak Emoji gradually evolved into a full-fledged band led by Warren (vocals, guitar and keys) featuring Sylvana Joyce (keytar), Bryan Percival (bass, keys) and Max Tholenaar-Maples (drums). With Blak Emoji, Warren has expanded upon 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, along with hip-hop, punk, minimalist classical and synth-driven music Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails and Prince that he loved as an adult.
Over the past handful of years, the JOVM mainstay has been incredibly 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. “Velvet Ropes & Dive Bars, and “Poison To Medicine” appeared on ABC’s Quantico while “Sapiosexual” appeared in several indie films. Additionally, Warren has become an in-demand producer, who has collaborated with an eclectic array of artists.
Last 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 recently released, deluxe, remastered edition of Warren’s acclaimed album Eclectro. The acclaimed album has been re-sequenced and remastered by ECR Music Group’s 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.”
Late last year, the JOVM mainstay shared “Mainstay,” a slinky, dance floor friendly, 80s-inspired synth funk bop featuring stuttering and wobbling bass synths, boom bap beats, a sinus bass line and 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.
“Last Night Lost,” Eclectro‘s second and latest single continues a remarkable run of slinky, 80s-inspired synth funk bops featuring dense layers of oscillating synths and bass synths and thumping beats paired with Warren’s sultry cooing, dance floor friendly, razor sharp hooks and sleek, contemporary production. Interestingly, “Last Night Lost” may arguably be the sexiest song of Warren’s growing catalog.