Tag: R&B

INNR CIRCLE is a rising Toronto-based Panamanian-Canadian R&B artist, who has started to receive attention both locally and nationally for a sound that meshes elements of New Wave, dream pop and R&B paired with a striking and dynamic vocal register and earnest, lived-in songwriting. The rising Canadian artist’s latest single “Take” has begun to receive attention from a number of tastemakers: “Take” has been featured on Spotify’s New Music Canada, YouTube Music’s RELEASED, as well as Next in Queue, Sine Language, Alternative Hotlist and Your New Alternative playlists — and after hearing the single you’ll see why the Toronto-based artist is so buzz worthy.

Centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, a decidedly Tropical air , a shuffling two-step inducing rhythm and INNR CIRCLE’S achingly plaintive and sultry vocals, the track sonically reminds me JOVM mainstay Washed Out to mind while featuring a a narrator, trying to pursue an old relationship that he fucked up. And as a result, the song touches upon loneliness, longing, frustration, despair and self-flagellation in a way that’s neurotic yet familiar.

New Video: Emerging British Artist Shana Releases a Sultry and Self-Assured Banger

Shana is an emerging London-based, Nigerian-British artist. Her second and latest single “No Rainy Days” is a slick and self-assured mix of Quiet Storm R&B and dancehall, centered around stuttering beats, shimmering synth arpeggios, an infectious radio friendly hook, and the rising British artist’s sultry vocals. Coming from — presumably — a new artist, the song is a breezy yet grown and sexy declaration of desire, longing and devotion that feels like a contented sigh.

Filmed and edited by Oliver Brian Productions, the recently released video for “No Rainy Days” follows the emerging artist through her daily life in London while spending time with her beau — and it captures two absolutely beautiful black people in love.

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Washed Out on SiriusXM’s “Live for SirusXMU Sessions”

Throughout the course of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering Perry, GA-born, Athens, GA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Ernest Greene, best known as the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded synth pop/chillwave project Washed Out.

Earlier this year, the Perry-born, Athens-based artist released “Too Late,” a track that sonically was a return to form: a swooning yet bittersweet bit of synth pop centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, Greene’s ethereal and plaintive vocals and a soaring hook — but with a subtly Mediterranean feel.

As it turned out, “Too Late” was unofficially the first single off Greene’s fourth album Purple Noon. Written, recorded by Greene with mixing handled by frequent collaborator Ben H. Allen, the album’s production followed a brief stint of writing with other artists — most notably writing with Sudan Archives on her debut Athena. Those collaborations allowed Green to explore R&B and modern pop and those sounds have made there way into Purple Noon‘s material. Not only is the material reportedly the brightest and more robust sounds he’s ever worked out; it’s also a decided step forward: unlike his previous released work, the vocals are placed front and center at the mix, with slower tempos, bolder, harder-hitting beats and a more comprehensive dynamic depth.

Deriving its name from Rene Clement’s 1960 film Purple Noon, which was based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mister Ripley, the album’s material is deeply inspired by the coastlines of the Mediterranean — with Greene paying tribute to region’s island-based culture, elegance and old-world charm. But the surroundings serve as the backdrop to stories of passion love and loss — with a deeper, perhaps more urgent emotional intensity: the album’s unofficial first single “Too Late” is a tale of a first meet, with all the confused and swooning emotions that come about.

Recently Greene recorded a live session for SiriusXM’s Live for SiriusXM Sessions with his backing band shot in his candlelit front room. The session includes a live version of one of my favorite tracks off Purple Noon, the aforementioned “Too Late,” and a slow-burning, shimmering and absolutely fitting cover of Sade’s “Cherish The Day,” which points at the lush, Quiet Storm-like R&B influences of the album — while reminding the viewer of how great Sade really is.

Luna · Fix (Luna Musiq & Effy Lowan)

 

Luna Musiq is a Manchester, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, whose earliest musical memories were of her folks playing The Supremes, Boney M., Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and 80s pop — all of which were early musical influences. As she got older, New Jack Swing, 90s hip-hop, downtempo electronica, chill-hop and acoustic soul also have influenced the emerging British artist and her work. The Manchester-based artist can trace the origins of her music career to when she was 5: her grandmother had given her a keyboard as a gift — and along with her brother, who had a Casio mini keyboard, they’d create beats, sounds and songs, which they recorded into their beloved tape recorder.

Luna Musiq learned several different instruments during her teens but she stopped playing in her early 20s. Interestingly, Musiq started writing songs in 2017 and went to a a week-0long songwriting trip in the Andalusian Hills, where she met a collection of singers, songwriters and musicians with whom she currently collaborates, as well as  some multi-talented and multi-skilled artists, songwriters, producers, composers and vocalist, who have become mentors.

Since then, the emerging British artist has been writing constantly — both as a solo artist and for other artists, with whom she collaborates with.  Her latest single, “Fix Me,” finds her collaborating with British indie R&B artist Effy Lowan. As Luna Musiq explained to me . Both our music explores topics around hardship to love, trust, betrayal and the difficulties navigating the relationship with yourself as well as others. Having both worked on previous R&B projects, Effy and I came across each other through the same songwriting network. We thought our styles blended well together and decided to collaborate, resulting in Fix being the first release. We’re working on some more joint projects together for the future, but are both solo artists in our own right (I’ve released 6 tracks so far and featured on a few other releases) and often write for other artists too.”

“Fix Me” is an anachronistic R&B/pop song that’s centered around a warm and soulful production featuring twinkling keys, stuttering boom bap beats, Lowan’s effortless vocals  and a swaggering hip-hop verse. And while sounding mischievously anachronistic, with the track sounding as though it could have been released in 1997, 2007, 2017 or just the other day, the track displays earnest songwriting, informed by deeply lived-in personal experience. In this case, the song details the weird mix of co-dependency, need, longing and desire of almost every romantic relationship with a novelist’s attention to detail.

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Adeline Returns with an Intimate Visual for Slow-Burning “Just Another Day”

Since initially making a name for herself as the frontwoman of the equally acclaimed dance music/nu-disco outfit Escort, the New York-based singer/songwriter, bassist and producer and JOVM mainstay Adeline has developed a reputation as a solo artist of note, releasing her self-titled, full-length debut to critical praise from the likes of Vogue, NPR, Refinery 29, Rolling Stone, The Fader and many others.

The JOVM mainstay has opened for Anderson .Paak, Lee Fields, Chromeo, Big Freedia and Natalie Prass among a lengthening list of artists, which  which has helped to further cement her reputation for dazzling audiences with her beauty, her captivating live show and energetic presence. Adding to a growing profile as a solo artist, the Parisian-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and bassist, has made appearances across the national festival circuit, including Afropunk, Funk on the Rocks and Winter Jazz Fest. She’s also a member of CeeLo Green’s touring band, making her — arguably — one of the hardest working women in New York’s music scene. 

Officially dropping today, Intérimes EP, the highly-anticipated follow-up to her full-length debut features seven tracks that are a future-facing nod to old school soul, funk, R&B and neon that will include “Middle,” which she performed on CBS This Morning,  the sultry Quiet Storm-like “Twilight,” the disco-tinged Jonathan Singletary co-written “After Midnight,” the and the EP’s latest single, is a slow-burning, neo-soul strut “Just Another Day.” Centered around a sinuous bass line, the JOVM’s sultry vocals, her unerring knack for an infectious hook and some twinkling Rhodes, the track recalls Erykah Badu — but as the JOVM mainstay explains in press notes “‘Just Another Day’ is about questioning your place in the world, not feeling accepted, pretending to be in someone else’s shoes, so I wanted to show characters that exude confidence and self-acceptance as a message of hope for the LGBTQ people out there who feel rejected and misunderstood.”

The recently released accompanying video features the JOVM in a couple of stylish outfits and a bikini on the beach, playing her bass and three of her dearest friends — Yussuf, Gitoo and Bambi. Each of the video’s subjects reveals a bit of their personality and humanity in a way that’s endearing: one of the men has kind eyes and a mischievous smile, another is fierce as fuck, the other serves up moves — hard.  “The video features 3 beautiful friends of mine, Yussuf, Gitoo and Bambi. They are some of the people in my life who I look up to the most when it comes to confidence and style,” the JOVM mainstay explains. 

 

Known as Juneteenth, Freedom Day,  Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day, June 19, 2020 commemorates the 155th anniversary of Union Army General Gordon Granger arriving in Galveston, TX with his troops and announcing federal orders that all people held as slaves in Texas were free. In reality, those held as slaves in Texas were technically freed two and a half years earlier with the Emancipation Proclamation, which officially outlawed slavery across Confederate territories.

Although Juneteenth is commonly thought as celebrating the end of slavery in the US. it  was still legal and practiced in Union border states until December 6, 1865 with the ratification of the 13th Amendment abolished non-penal, chattel slavery across the country.

Officially celebrations of Juneteenth date back to 1866, initially involving church-centered community gathering across Texas. It spread rapidly across the South becoming much more commercialized, centering around food. Regardless of how you celebrate it, today should be America’s real independence day —  the day in which all Americans were made free. There’s still a lot of work to be done by all of us for all of us to truly be free from fascism, white supremacy, the patriarchy and other oppressive human systems. Let’s keep pushing on.

In the meantime, I wanted to spend today celebrating Black people and Black art. Being Black has truly been the best thing to ever have happened to me. Black is multifaceted. Black is beautiful. Black is powerful and righteous. Black is brotherhood and sisterhood. Black is swagger and flavor. Black is joy in the face of terror, horror and injustice. Black is survival and pride. Black is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

If you’re Black and gay. I love you, you matter to me. If you’re Black and trans, I love you, you matter to me. If you’re a Black woman, I love you, you matter to me. If you’re a Black man, I love you, you matter to me. If you’re Black and non-binary, I love you, you matter to me.

Because of the occasion, I had been thinking of Syl Johnson‘s 1969 full-length album Is It Because I’m Black? Born Sylvester Thompson in Holly Springs, MS, Johnson and his family relocated to Chicago in 1950. Acclaimed bluesman Magic Sam was his next-door neighbor — and Johnson quickly developed a reputation as a go-to guitarist and vocalist, playing with Billy Boy Arnold, Junior Wells, and Howlin’ Wolf throughout the 50s. He recorded with Jimmy Reed in 1959 and made his solo debut with Federal Records, a subsidiary of legendary Cincinnati blues label King Records that year.

Personally, I find Johnson to be interesting because he’s part of that last wave of the Great Migration — and because his work comfortably sits in between blues, R&B and soul.  As for Is It Because I’m Black? It’s a great album that deserves more love and greater attention for its observations and thoughts on being Black in America, Black unity and more — plus it features a Southern fried cover of The Beatles‘ “Come Together” that’s worth the price of admission.

 

 

 

 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Adeline Performs 3 Singles for Colors Home/Bred Sessions

Initially making a name for herself as the frontwoman of the equally acclaimed dance music/nu-disco outfit Escort, the New York-based singer/songwriter, bassist and producer and JOVM mainstay Adeline has developed a reputation as a solo artist of note, releasing her self-titled, full-length debut to critical praise from the likes of Vogue, NPR, Refinery 29, Rolling Stone, The Fader and many others.

The JOVM mainstay has opened for Anderson .Paak, Lee Fields, Chromeo, Big Freedia and Natalie Prass among a lengthening list of artists, which  which has helped to further cement her reputation for dazzling audiences with her beauty, her captivating live show and energetic presence. Adding to a growing profile as a solo artist, the Parisian-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and bassist, has made appearances across the national festival circuit, including Afropunk, Funk on the Rocks and Winter Jazz Fest. She’s also a member of CeeLo Green’s touring band, making her — arguably — one of the hardest working women in New York’s music scene. 

Intérimes EP, the highly-anticipated follow-up to her full-length debut was originally slated for a June 12, 2020 release but the JOVM mainstay decided to reschedule the release to July 10, 2020 in order to make room for voices as the Black Lives Matter and police reform movements have been gaining momentum within the mainstream. In the meantime, Adeline will be releasing the #TwilightChallengeEP tomorrow — Juneteenth — on Bandcamp as a celebration of Black Culture and to support Black Lives Matter. 

#TwilightChallengeEP will feature seven artists of color from all over the world, performing the JOVM mainstay’s five favorite selections from her #TwilightChallenge fan competition, a competition in which she invited fans to make new version of “Twilight” using the instrumental version of the track. The artists include:

Jonathan Singletary, a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and musician, whose work meshes elements of R&B, soul and hip-hop while thematically exploring love and  the pursuit of  freedom. Singletary was a co-writer on Adeline’s “Twilight” and he’s a frequent collaborator with the Night Share production duo. Currently, he has plans to release new material this year. 
Lisko, a Nancy, France-based rapper, who has receiving attention for having a jazzy flow —  and for being a kind of “professor of good vibes.” 
Syndee Winters and Paze Infinite: Winters has had a diverse musical career that has included starring as Nala in The Lion King musical on Broadway and writing songs for a number of artists. Paze Infinite, is a rapidly rising beatmaker, producer, songwriter and emcee, who has received attention for crafting radio friendly beats for vocalists and emcees. 
Vilda Ray, an up-and-coming singer/songwriter and producer, who specializes in crafting music that will make your body sway — or leave you teary eyed. 
Lucas Afonso and Roberta Estrela D’Alva: Afonso is a Brazilian-born and-based poet, emcee, art educator, founder and host of acclaimed poetry slam “Slam da Ponta.” He’s also a Brazilian National Slam champion, and one of Brazil’s representatives in the 2016 Poetry Slam World Cup, held in France. Robetra Estrela D’Alva is a Brazilian-born and-based emcee, actress, spoken word artist, director and researcher. Known as one of the pioneers of  her homeland’s slam poetry scene, she’s a founder of Núcleo Bartolomeu de Depoimentos, Brazil’s first hip-hop theater company. 
The EP is part of Bandcamp’s Juneteenth fundraiser, will all donations received by Adeline going to Until Freedom, an intersectional social justice organization rooted in the leadership of diverse people of color to address systemic and racial injustice. All of Bandcamp’s proceeds will go to the NAACP. 

In between being out on the streets with the folks protesting injustice and  systemic racist, Adeline was invited by the internationally acclaimed production company COLORS to perform material off her forthcoming EP for their new Home/Bred sessions. The session includes the funky, Patrice Rushen-like two-stepper “Middle,” the sultry Quiet Storm-like breakup ballad “Twilight,”  and the slow-burning and atmospheric ballad “When I’m Alone,” which brings Thundercat’s “We Die,” to mind.  From this session,  it should be apparent that Adeline is  the real deal — and that you’re watching a soon-to-be superstar in an intimate setting. 

New Audio: Emerging French Producer Oris Beats Teams Up with Julián Cruz on a Sultry and Atmospheric Single

Oris Beats is an emerging 22 year old Paris-based producer whose work is inspired by R&B, Drake and 40. Interestingly, the emerging French producer can trace the origins of his music career back to when he turned 15: he started bursting with musical ideas whenever he listened to sounds. Since then, the emerging French producer has produced material from a series of equally emerging artists including Kyle Dion’s “Hold On To Me,”  and “Timed Out” Anfa Rose “Talented,” and “Tangier,” and Pso Thug’s “Demoniak 2.” 

Last year, Oris Beats took a trip to Toronto in which he met a series of artists — and he got the idea of working with some of them on his latest EP With You. The EP’s latest single “Won’t Forget,” is a slow-burning and atmospheric track, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, wobbling low end paired with Julián Cruz’s plaintive vocals. The end result is a track that’s sultry yet brooding. 

RockLee · It’s a Feeling (feat. Mel Pacifico & Uness)

 

Born Frantz-Lee Leonard, Montreal-based jazz-trained, drummer RockLee started his music career as a member of Lazy Lee. Since then, Leonard has spent the bulk of his career as a hired gun, who has toured across the globe playing pop and world music.  And as a result, Leonard has shared stages with Corneille and Wesli, Muzion, Claude Dubois, Paul Cargnello, Dominque Fils-Aimé and a lengthy list of others.

Recently, Leonard has transitioned to a life behind the scenes, as a producer. Drawing from his extensive experience as a performer and songwriter, Leonard quickly developed a reputation for being one of his hometown’s best kept secrets — but with the forthcoming release of a solo album, which will find him collaborating with a variety of different artists. Describing his sound as “a fusion of sounds meant to evoke a sense of nostalgia,” his goal as a producer is to offer a new generation of music listeners and fans the chance to sonically reconnect with the most important moments — with the tacit understanding that music is most often the emotional center of our lives.

Co-written by Paul Cargnello, “It’s A Feeling” the album’s first single is centered around a sultry Quiet Storm-like production featuring skittering beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, squiggling blasts of guitar, twinkling keys and an infectious, radio friendly hook paired with a soulful and achingly yearning duet between two of Montreal’s up-and-coming R&B artists Mel Pacifico and Uness. What seems to set RockLee and this particular song apart from countless others  — to my ears, at least — is the fact that the song meshes an ambitious yet accessible production and earnest songwriting with a decided sense of purpose. 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Bea Kadri and Issac B Releases a Meditative and Wistful Visual for “Be Alright”

Bea Kadri is an emerging Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter. Much like countless young people across the world, Kadri had her Walkman and iPod practically glued to her — and she watched endless hours of MTV and YouTube to get her fix of pop, hip-hop and R&B. As a painfully shy teenager, who was afraid to express her true self and her true feelings, the Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter found understanding and solace through the music she was listening to at the time. And much like teens all across the world, she’d stay in her room, daydream and imitate her favorite artists in front of her mirror and jot down thoughts and lyrics in her journal.

In 2018, Kadri relocated to London to pursue a Master’s Degree in Music Business Management from the University of Westminster, with the hopes of being close to her lifelong passion and maybe landing a job somewhere within the music industry. She gradually decided to pursue a career as an artist as her confidence in her talents grew — but she can trace the origins of her career as an artist to when she put together a list of songs to show her mentor, who was writing songs for Universal Music UK. Kadri landed an opportunity to write songs and sync placements. And adding to a big year for her, she performed in the backing choirs for Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton during both artists’ BRIT Awards performances that year.

As a solo artist, Kadri’s work focuses on self-discovery, empowerment and matters of the heart — with a sultry yet chill air. Interestingly, the Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter’s latest single “Be Alright,” which features a guest spot from Issac B is a slow-burning and sultry track centered around a minimalist production featuring skittering beats and atmospheric synths — and while helping to establish Kadri’s sultry yet laid back sound, the track finds Kadri and Issac B reminiscing on simpler days, old loves an slower paces with an achingly wistful air that seems to say “if I had known then, what I know now . . .” 

“We wrote and recorded ‘Be Alright’ back in August 2019, before the madness of the pandemic, we were just reminiscing on simpler days and pace of our past but the message behind the song resonates now more than ever,” Kadri says in press notes. “In the chorus we go ‘roll in peace yeah call it pair of dice’ to highlight the nature of how we never truly know what dice life will serve us, but whatever it is, we got to roll with it peacefully and make like a paradise (“pair of dice”) in our minds, stay chill, find the balance and keep on because, really, ‘we gon’ be alright.'”

Directed Linda Dorigo, the recently released video for “Be Alright” stars the song’s creative duo, reminiscing in their bedrooms, and continuing with the dreary and ordinary routines of their lives — Kadri heading to work at a local supermarket while Issac B goes to a laundromat. There’s also a quite a bit of  nouvelle vague-like split screens, which add to the slick stylistic vibe of the video.