Artist of the Week
Nigerian music icon WANDE COAL, known for his undeniable catalog of afropop classics, has shared his first project in five years, Realms, through producer Screwface’s Starstruck Management and indie powerhouse EMPIRE.
Known to fans as 'Black Diamond' and 'King Coal,' WANDE COAL has assembled an impeccable set of tracks befitting his wide-ranging talents as a vocalist and songwriter. More about WANDE COAL enclosed.
Sarz, the influential Nigerian producer known for his work with Wizkid, Beyoncé and Drake, brings the rhythm on 'Vex,' a scintillating dance-floor heater that addresses the singer’s critics. With its emotive guitar plucks and tender, romantic lyrics, 'Again' (produced by Melvitto and Screwface) is already on its way to becoming an afropop classic, having notched over 30 million streams and a marathon run on key African music charts this year.
The album’s brassy second single 'Ode Lo Like,' which premiered with Rolling Stone, takes aim at those who take entertainers for simple fools. And “Check,” produced by London’s Lekaa Beats, is a defiant, reggae-tinged anthem sure to inspire singalongs in the car and club. The breezy 'Naughty Girl' and the high-energy banger 'Ever Blazin' round out the EP, along with a brand-new remix of 'Again' featuring Nigerian-American rap star Wale.
Jersey Street’s heady combo of Deep House, Spiritual jazz, Latin rhythms and raw soul saw them embraced by audiences all around the world when they first appeared on the scene. The band features ‘Manchester’s best kept secret’, vocalist Dawn Zee, who has been compared with the likes of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Lauren Hill.
Now, in 2020, Jersey Street is back with a brand new album, ‘Love Rising Up’, that returns to their original jazz roots and steps away from the dance floor to draw the dots between the influences of Roy Ayers, Rotary Connection and Betty Davis to the more contemporary stylings of Anderson Paak and Floating Points, while stopping off for a drink with Nu-Yorican Soul along the way.
The album is characterised by lush string and brass orchestration, some world-class musicianship, and an irreverent Manchester attitude, with the band’s classic song writing chops always at the forefront.
According to co-founder Dawn Zee, “We began this process a couple of years ago as something very pure, based on the desire to make the record that we’d always wanted to, musically and sonically, without any reference to anything apart from our own taste. It ended up sounding better than we could have imagined, probably because of that very approach. It’s heavily song-based and draws on a wide range of influences. We’ve got some wonderful musicians on the album and we wanted to give all the players the freedom to bring their own vision of how it should sound. We’re really proud of it, and we hope it can bring a bit of happiness to all our fans and listeners. Hope everyone is irie. Stay blessed Xx.”
In addition to Dawn, the other founding members of Jersey Street have equally impressive credentials.
During a career of over 20 years, Matt Steele has played with the cream of International jazz/funk/soul artists, ranging from Peven Everett to Eric Marienthal, while focusing recently on music for film and TV. He is the long-standing Brand New Heavies keyboard player and arranger, has written with such standouts as Angie Stone and Siedah Garrett, and is currently a touring member of pivotal jazz-punk revolutionaries A Certain Ratio.
Founder member and lynchpin of Jersey Street, Neil Reid, had his first releases with legendary Mancunian manager Rob Gretton. His always-hip but timeless production skills were much in demand as the band carved a respected path between the worlds of Deep House and Nu-jazz, working with luminaries including Larry Heard and Uschi Classen, and being regularly played at clubs such as Giant Step and Shelter. Mainly a resident of Barcelona, Neil has recently been heavily involved in education as well as having a publishing contract with Sony/BMG Spain. The last two years have seen him getting his chops together in anticipation of taking Jersey Street on the road (now delayed until 2021).
Multi-instrumentalist Jasper Wilkinson won the Young Jazz Composer competition at the Royal Northern College of Music at the tender age of 15. He has gone on to write television commercials for national brands and has also composed for Channel 5, Granada, UKTV, Tyne Tees and BSkyB. Jasper is a writer and producer of a large number of released commercial recordings. Being a prolific guitar, bass and saxophone player, he is a first call guitarist and bass player and has played bass saxophone and guitar on scores of dance and other worldwide records.
Speaking about their new-found relationship with Ubuntu Music, Neil Reid commented: “We’re delighted to be in the Ubuntu Family as we were all blown away by the consistently high standard of playing and production on all of the releases. Martin (Hummel) is totally artist driven, and his passion for taking an artist’s original vision and bringing it to the widest audience possible was the clincher for us. Hopefully, it’s the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with Ubuntu.”
For more information, please contact Dynamic Agency: email@example.com
Joyce Sims, the legendary voice behind the Billboard top ten hit, Come into My Life, is back with a brand new single and a selection of remixes, Everybody’s Going Through Something. Written and produced by Joyce herself, the single is the first taster for Joyce Sim’s new album, Change, due for release in Autumn 2020. Responsible for some of music’s greatest club anthems, Joyce Sims is once again in imperious form, combing soul, funk, dance and pop.
From her beginnings singing in the local church choir, it was clear that Joyce Sims’ voice stood out from the crowd. Her first hit single was (You Are My) All and All in 1986, produced by Kurtis Mantronik which reached number 16 on the UK Singles Chart, whilst it entered the US Dance Chart at number 51, peaking at number 6. Sims followed up in 1988 with a song she wrote and performed which has become a veritable anthem, Come into My Life, also produced by Kurtis Mantronik which peaked at number 10 on the US Billboard R&B Chart and number 7 on the UK Singles Chart – indeed, Joyce is keen to point to her UK fanbase as being incredibly loyal and supportive throughout her career. This became her biggest success and the track with which she has become synonymous, becoming a top-10 single on the R&B chart.
Both All and All and her remake of Love Makes a Woman with Jimmy Castor were also chart entries. Sims' debut album, Come into My Life, reached number 22 in the US R&B album chart and number 5 in the UK Albums Chart following the Top 10 success of the title track in the UK Singles Chart. Sims' second album, All About Love, was released in 1989 and reached number 64 in the UK Albums Chart. The 90s and 00s continued to see Joyce releasing new, self-penned music, as well as seeing collaborating with the likes of Junior Vasquez and Maxi Priest, with artists such as Angie Stone and Snoop Dogg paying tribute to Joyce Sims’ influence by sampling her work.
Originally written by Joyce with Martha Wash in mind to sing it, over time it became more and more apparent to her that her lyrics were incredibly pertinent and timely considering COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter and she made the decision to record itself and include it on her new album. Supported by a Booker T Remix; Booker T Club Mix and Soulshaker Mix, Everybody’s Going Through Something is classic Joyce Sims.
PAUL EPWORTH RELEASES NEW SINGLE ‘SPACE INC feat. ISHMAEL’ ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM ‘VOYAGER’
OUT 11TH SEPTEMBER
Acclaimed producer and songwriter PAUL EPWORTH today releases the brand new track ‘SPACE INC feat. ISHMAEL’, taken from his long-awaited debut album ‘VOYAGER’ to be released 11th September via Columbia Records. Listen to ‘Space Inc’ and pre-order ‘Voyager’ here.
The themes on ‘Voyager’ delve deeply into Paul’s love of 1970s science fiction and space travel, merging a cosmic pop sound with hip hop and house influences from a wealth of musical knowledge and experiences. The album sees guest vocals from the likes of Jay Electronica, Ty Dolla $ign, Vince Staples, Lianne La Havas and Kool Keith as well as appearances from the likes of Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Dave Bayley of Glass Animals and The House Gospel Choir.
In the run up to the release of the track, mysterious adverts started appearing online for a company called ‘Space Inc’ (https://www.space-inc.co/), promising people a new life in outer space, away from the perils of planet Earth. Today, it has been revealed that ‘Space Inc’ is the creation of Paul Epworth; a vision of the future brought to life in his new single, in which corporations vow to rescue us from our earthly existence and deliver us to be reborn among the stars.
Speaking on the track, Paul explains: “Space Inc was almost the last piece in the puzzle of this album. It was originally called Odyssey after Kubrick’s masterpiece and I knew I wanted it to be the final track on the record.
The lyrics are about transcendence. Leaving earth to change the course of human history or more of us leaving our reality to change the course of human consciousness. Both have genetic implications within our DNA. Thanks to Yuval Noah Harare, Stanley Kubrick, Quincy Jones, Funkadelic and Kaytranada for the inspiration.”
‘Space Inc’ along with the previously released ‘Love Galaxy feat. Jay Electronica & Lil Silva’ and album title track ‘Voyager’, are exciting snippets from an album that’s been a labour of love for Epworth; recording on the record from his studio The Church in North London as well as mixing and mastering the project in LA with world renowned hip hop producer Mike Dean (Kanye West, Travis Scott, Nas, Jay Z, Pusha T).
Grammy and Academy Award winning, Epworth continues to push boundaries as a music producer and songwriter, working with the most exciting new talent as well as some of the most prolific and influential artists of our generation.
‘Voyager’ track list
Mars & Venus (Feat. Vince Staples, ISHMAEL & Elle Yaya)
Hyperspace (Feat. ISHMAEL)
OBX (Feat. Lil Silva)
Cosmos (Feat. Ty Dolla $ign)
Distant Planets (Feat. Kool Keith)
The Eternal Now
Binaural Trip (Feat. Bibi Bourelly & ISHMAEL)
Twenty Second Century (Feat. Lianne La Havas)
Love Galaxy (Feat. Jay Electronica & Lil Silva)
Time & Space
Where Do We Come From? (Feat. ISHMAEL & Elle Yaya)
Space Inc (Feat. ISHMAEL)
Soulpersona & Princess Freesia have released their latest album on Sunset City Records, TODAY the 15th May.
The eagerly awaited follow up to last year’s highly acclaimed The Game is titled
'Extended Pleasure' and features nine brand new songs.
The new album is sure to appeal to their existing fan base with its modern take on soul, funk, disco, jazz and rare groove and cuts like ‘Touch The Star’, ‘Where Do I Go From Here’ and ‘You Do Me’ could see the Brighton duo reach an even wider audience.
Soulpersona has created a multi-layered musical backdrop with the aid of trusted musicians Carl Hudson (keyboards) and Terry Lewis (guitar).
Freesia’s endearing, thought provoking lyrics and her ear for a compelling melody turn the grooves into songs and her own dynamic vocals, drenched in jazz and soul, give them a timeless quality.
‘Extended Pleasure’ began life as an EP but it developed into much more. Morgan Howell (Soulpersona) said: “The good news is that the forthcoming Soulpersona & Princess Freesia EP, thanks to the lockdown, turned into a nine-track album. It will be a sterile and hygienic digital-only release, as to not spread any viruses of any kind!”
This is the duo’s sixth album together and it will keep them in the vanguard of the UK’s leading independent soul acts.
‘Extended Pleasure’ is available as a digital download through the usual platforms such as iTunes, Amazon and Spotify, while a version with a couple of bonus tracks will be made available through Bandcamp.
- Duncan Payne (Blues & Soul Magazine)
From the artist that brought you the beautifully crafted debut LP "Sunkissed" and single "Best Friends", ASHLEIGH SMITH now brings you her brand new single: "In The Rain" Featuring vocals by Chantae Cann.
A new album from Eric Roberson, begun on March 5, completed on March 30 and released on April 3. Recorded at his home studio in New Jersey, while self isolating, Eric has contributions from Josh Milan, Avery Sunshine producer-writer Dana Johnson, DJ Kemit and various of his band members past and present.
“I started recording four weeks ago and the songs came pouring out of me. I knew the coronavirus had arrived in the States but, like many, I had no idea it would spread and affect our culture so fast. As shows were cancelled and I was forced to stay home, I found comfort in the ideas I was hearing. As I began sharing those ideas I realised I was also passing along comforting feelings as well. I have learned from past experiences to trust the process and look for the purpose. I found it in this album, Hear From Here - 10 songs I heard when the world was quiet. I pray they reach you in a safe place and help you as they have helped me”.
Soul Rebels 'Blush' featuring Robert Glasper/'Slide back' from the album 'Poetry In Motion' Album Mckoy Avenue Records-Eight men pick up shiny brass instruments, lock into an unspoken groove and rotate genres like your favorite playlist shifting from jazz & R&B to hip-hop, pop and beyond with fire, focus and fluidity. New Orleans-bred staple The Soul Rebels expand musical boundaries with an unwavering commitment to originality. Far more than augmentation and accompaniment, the octet—Julian Gosin [trumpet, MC], Marcus Hubbard [trumpet], Lumar LeBlanc III [snare drum], Derrick Moss [bass drum], Corey Peyton [trombone, MC], Erion Williams [saxophone], Paul Robertson [trombone] and Manuel Perkins Jr. [sousaphone]—pioneer the integration of their chosen instrumentation. For Poetry In Motion—the group’s first album for their new imprint, Rebelution Music Group, on Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group—The Soul Rebels infused this handcrafted approach into a wider sonic palette than ever before.The Soul Rebels set the stage for studio alchemy in 2019 by an unprecedented run of successes. They went from a scorching set on NPR’s “Tiny Desk,” to performing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and opening the 2018 TED Conference. They contributed and performed the hit song “Lovely Day” to the original motion picture soundtrack for the box office blockbuster Girls Trip. At the 2019 New Orleans Jazz Festival, The Soul Rebels performed a show-stopping headline set . Logging 250-plus shows annually, The Soul Rebels have touched down everywhere, including Europe, Australia, China, Africa, South Korea and Japan. They also joined forces with Nas, G-Eazy, Portugal The Man, Robert Glasper, Pretty Lights, DMX, Curren$y, Joey Bada$$, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke, Metallica and Marilyn Manson for genre-bending performances. Additionally, they opened up for everyone from Lauryn Hill, John Mayer, Ice Cube, The Allman Brothers to Nile Rodgers and earned acclaim from Noisey, BBC radio, Vibe, Okayplayer plus a performance on Later With Jools Holland.
Omar Lyefook MBE is without doubt, one of the greatest soul music talents the United Kingdom has produced in the last 40 years. If anyone has doubts about that, then they might want to consider the list of legendary artists who happily line up to collaborate with him musically, or simply sing his praises - from Stevie Wonder, the late Leon Ware, Erykah Badu, Common, through to Carleen Anderson, D'Angelo, and Soul II Soul's Caron Wheeler, Angie Stone and U.K. artists Courtney Pine, Rodney P, Kele LeRoc, Natasha Watts and Estelle, all appreciate his truly original and unique voice, musicianship and songwriting talent.
When asked to reflect on his long, successful, critically acclaimed and deeply influential career that shows no signs of slowing up, Omar said "I feel blessed. I try to keep things moving and evolving, and when I finish an album, I always put my heart and soul into it. I'm looking at it from an outsider's point of view, because I never really see myself making the music. It's like I'm the vessel and somebody's controlling what I do, I just happen to be the one that gets the praise for it".
That modest statement just re-enforces the fact that Omar is simply a one off, a genuinely unique artist. That is a bold claim, but his sound is so immediately identifiable, that you will know you are hearing an Omar track within seconds - and that is the stamp of true originality.
This collection features many of his classic collaborations, from his evergreen worldwide anthem There's Nothing Like This, It's So, the dancefloor destroying banger inspired by the amalgam of sounds Omar heard at The Notting Hill Carnival. Also included are lesser known, slept on tracks from across his long career - and the exclusive, previously unheard tracks Pass It On ft Terri Walker and Long Time Coming.
British singer Mahalia’s debut album ’Love And Compromise’ follows a plethora of impressive projects such as ‘Diary Of Me’ and ‘Seasons’, and with an experimental soundscape - tinged with heart-break, lessons learned the hard way, newly gained self-confidence and much more – the rise of this young Leicester-born R&B singer continues.
Opening with ‘Hide Out’, which begins with a snippet of a 1982 interview with singer Eartha Kitt, where she discusses love and compromise, is the perfect introduction to the defiant spirit encapsulated within the album.
From here, the carefree, upbeat tones of hit single ‘I Wish I Missed My Ex’ take over, as her smooth, smiling voice brings forth a celebration of moving on from the one that wasn’t “the one”.
The summery afrobeats-tinged collaboration with Burna Boy is an early highlight, one that touches the topic of trust packaged within a bop. Flirtatious yet self-assured ‘Good Company’ comes with the message that it’s okay to say no if you’re not in the mood for fooling around – something Mahalia makes known through her catchy yet impactful lyrics: “I like the kind of guy who’ll wait for it, because I want to be good company...”
The 21-year-old – who has been signed since was 13, releasing music since 2015 - found her voice a long time ago, despite struggling to get there, in fact almost quitting music in 2017.
But the online popularity of ‘Sober’ gave her the confidence to keep going and it’s only been upwards and onwards since then. Her sound is impressive, but the fact she has continued to hone it, growing sonically and lyrically is most noteworthy; managing to effortlessly keep the momentum going through the 13 tracks of her latest production.
Mahalia’s unique voice and well-earned confidence in herself shines through particularly on tracks such as the infectious ‘Do Not Disturb’ or the feel-good ‘Regular People’ featuring Hamzaa and Lucky Daye – which becomes the second highlight.
There are some lulls within the otherwise gripping production, as the memory of (still well-made) tracks such as ‘Karma’ and ‘Richie’ fade, but these moments of less captivating music pass by quickly with brilliance taking over once again.
A collection of varying sounds, ‘Love And Compromise’ is a clear reflection of Mahalia’s eclectic taste in music , featuring mid-noughties R&B ‘He's Mine’, the vocally dynamic ‘Consistency, the confessional Ella Mai collaboration ‘What You Did’ all within the same offering; drawing audiences with differing tastes in music easily with no tactical pull involved.
After several sonic twists and turns, final track ‘Square 1’, brings it back to her signature R&B sound- as it humorously tackles the familiar scenario of “going in circles” in a relationship that clearly didn’t work out the first time - bringing ‘Love And Compromise’ to an end with a strong finish.
At the end of this journey, we’re left not only with a playlist you’re itching to put on repeat, but also with the a much-needed notion of an inspirational woman made much stronger- much more in love with herself- by the trials and tribulations of her life.
If Kaytranada’s debut album, 99.9%, was full of the trepidation that comes with trying out new styles to see which one fits, BUBBA sees the Haitian-Canadian producer in a much more cohesive mode. This record feels like a disco mix, with tracks flipping seamlessly into each other, and the guests are picked less for celebrity value and more for their compatibility with Kaytranada’s sound.
10% featuring Kali Uchis is a highlight, with a sizzling West End Records loop and Kali’s lyrics demanding comeuppance (“You keep on taking from me but where’s my 10%? / You keep on taking from me, I wonder where you went”), while The Worst In Me with Tinashe bounces along with an irresistably rubbery bass and a catchy hook giving the track what was once called ‘crossover potential’. Eight9fly and Ari PenSmith give Vex Oh an Afrobeats feel, while Go DJ sees SiR delivering slick verses over a J Dilla-esque beat, but these sounds all feel perfectly natural.
The sound design throughout is what we’ve come to expect: popping percussion, synths that melt like butter and a healthy dose of sidechain to make everything bump. Sprinkled around BUBBA are instrumental passages that keep the record flowing in characterful fashion, whether it be the shimmering electric piano and breakbeat vibes of DO IT or Scared To Death’s filter work which brings back memories of vintage French house, but Kaytranada has (mostly) struck such a balance that his production talents still shine through on the vocal tracks.
The one unfortunate misstep is the Pharrell-featuring Midsection, which takes a promising groove then derails it with a tacky hook that feels cut and pasted into the track. But this is a rare bum note in a record that’s packed with goodies and effortlessly cool.
Amin Payne aka Teymori delivers finest Westcoast vibes on “The G-Funk Tape”.
Inspired by the 90’s subgenre of Westcoast rap, Amin Payne created a 9-track project, filled with bouncy basslines, talk boxes and high-pitched portamento synths. The main intention behind this tape was pay to homage to G-Funk music, but at the same time, the Australia based producer wanted to create a soundtrack for his fellow dancers. “The G-Funk Tape” features contributions by the 10tendo, OJ KUSH, Unda, Cazeaux O.S.L.O & Azriel, Billy Hoyle and First Touch.
Free Nationals, best known as Anderson .Paak’s backing band, have released their long-awaited debut album.
The self-titled project was announced in early 2018 during an interview with Triple J, and was expected to arrive sometime before 2019. It wasn't until last month when the band—consisting of guitarist Jose Rios, keyboardist Ron Tnava Avant, bassist Kelsey Gonzales, and drummer Callum Connor—announced the album’s release date.
“The real reason it delayed was because of our rigorous touring schedule,” the group tweeted along with the album’s cover art and tracklist.
The group’s self-titled LP is comprised of 13 tracks. Guests featured on the project include Paak, Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, J.I.D, The Internet’s Syd, Kali Uchis, T.I. and the late Mac Miller, among others.
More than 10 years after his latest album Let It Rain, the “This Is How We Do It” singer Montell Jordan is back with his 8th album entitled Masterpeace. On this new project, he worked with artists such as Crystal Nicole or Lecrae who is featured on the LP’s lead single “When I’m Around You“. It’s available now on all digital platforms!
This Minneapolis, Minnesota (via Natchez, Mississippi) soul man cut his teeth in the Time but bounced before the band signed with Warner Bros. His tough voice has the same grain and range as that of Otis Redding. Like that master, Alexander O'Neal was comfortable with pumping dancefloor burners and slinky couch-cuddlers. He's certainly the best singer Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have ever produced, and the strength of his material and his robust voice can be heard on releases including the hot new 2019 release "Think Of Who Loves You" available now on iTunes and other digital platforms online.
"Wear My Shoes" is the latest single from Temu's long awaited album, "Relic of the Mothership" dropping Dec 15th courtesy of Sleepers Recordz.
Pre-order a limited edition CD or Vinyl on the release date at:
Jacquees has said time and time again that he hands down the king of his genre, and to no avail, most decided to not listen to him. In dedication of his status, he drops a project to prove what he set out to do.
He grabs features from TK Kravitz, Tory Lanez, Quavo, Young Thug, Lil Keed, and more, but stays at the focal point to prove to the consumers who is king. Despite his competitors even being on his project, it seems like he has accomplished much of what his intentions are.
Each of the 18-tracks brings something new to the table, and there’s no denying the talent in store for Quee. Take a listen above on Spotify, and below on your favorite stream platform.
The new project follows Jacquees’ Certified RIAA Platinum debut album, 4275, which featured the hit singles “B.E.D.” and “You.”
We had to wait three years, but Gallant's sophomore effort is finally here. This time around, the 27-year-old singer wanted to make a throwback album. He wanted to bring back the synths and runs of early 2000's R&B and everything about Sweet Insomnia gives you that sweet nostalgia. "I wanted it to feel like a shoebox you kept under your bed full of Polaroid," he told Complex. However, when we got teasers for this project in the form of three singles ("Compromise," "Sleep On It," "Sharpest Edges"), it was clear that Gallant was keeping things fresh.
While the cover art and some of the instrumentals might aim to evoke a dark aesthetic, Gallant's vocals are too warm for Sweet Insomnia to be anything but incredibly pleasant. His voice is stretched to all of its dazzling extremes on this album and he reminds us that he has one of the sharpest falsettos in the game. The only features on the project come from fellow R&B powerhouses, 6LACK and Sabrina Claudio, the latter of whom is currently accompanied by Gallant on tour.
'Little Ghost' marks the return of LA-based trio Moonchild with their fourth album to date. Led by first single "Too Much to Ask", the release sees multi-instrumentalists Amber Navran, Max Bryk, and Andris Mattson channel boundless sonic energy as they explore some of the most personal aspects of human relationships. With a unique style of soul and new-school jazz that has cemented their spot in the LA music scene, Moonchild continue to intertwine lyrical concepts with expansive glistening melodies, harmonies and irresistible interludes. Taking its name from the most emotional of celestial bodies (in the eyes of the band), 'Little Ghost' follows the widely-praised 'Voyager' , 'Please Rewind'  and 'Be Free'  which were shown love by DJs like Gilles Peterson, Don Letts and Huey Morgan (BBC 6Music) to Jamie Cullum (BBC Radio 2), Jamz Supernova (BBC 1XTRA) and Anthony Valadez (KCRW) alongside Jazz FM who named the band Soul Act Of The Year 2018. The releases garnered press and line praise from The Fader, Echoes Magazine, Saint Heron, Kick Mag, KCRW and Okayplayer and racked up 8.5+ million streams Spotify for 'Voyager''s "Cure" and 4.5 million streams Spotify for "The List" - for which the video has also reached 7+ million views YouTube - taken from the same LP. Moonchild have collaborated and toured with highly-respected names in the soul-jazz crowd including Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, India.Arie, Leela James, The Internet, and built up a host of iconic supporters from Robert Glasper (who collaborated with Navran on his latest release with R+R=Now) and Laura Mvula to James Poyser, Jazzy Jeff, Jose James, 9th Wonder and Tyler, The Creator.
Summer Walker's 'Over It' Earns Biggest Streaming Week Ever for an R&B Album by a Woman
Summer Walker’s slow-groove R&B sounds like it was conceived in the parking lot of an Atlanta strip club. Slow and sultry, it shifts from anger to love to frustration in a heartbeat, like she’s both the angel and the devil on your shoulder. The 23-year-old Atlanta singer hardly does interviews, and when she does, it’s like she’s being held against her will, mumbling with an emotionless stare and her hood up. That shyness disappears on records, where her voice is big yet gentle, and the tales pour out.
At her best, Summer Walker’s stories play out like a telenovela. On “Me,” a moody track in the middle of her debut album, Over It, she’s heartbroken and unsure how to react, so she runs through her options: not care, or be petty and send him a single-word text. Instead, she checks her purse, then the trunk of her car, and pulls out a gun. “I would never shoot you, baby/Maybe just wave it around,” she sings in a sweet but defeated tone. It’s relatable melodrama for some, maybe a cautionary tale for others.
But Walker’s detail is just as rich in the moments that come directly before she reaches her breaking point. “Playing Games” addresses the lame dudes that continue to take her passion for granted, only showing affection in private and refusing to acknowledge their relationship on Instagram. The A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie-assisted “Stretch You Out” shows that frustration beginning to bubble over. “You never wanna clean up/And you talk to me like shit/And you handle me too rough/And, at the end of the day you got the nerve to bring up that bitch,” she sings. Like much of Over It, both tracks feature production from her current love interest and executive producer London on da Track (“Drunk Dialing...LODT” is dedicated to him), who energizes her lovestruck ballads for the social media era with his signature ATL bounce.
Occasionally she steers into blander territory, like the well-written but sleepy “Fun Girl,” but a rotating collection of R&B’s most toxic crooners keeps the energy level high. On “Like It,” Walker is infatuated, while Atlanta’s 6LACK only has sex on his mind. She blames herself for her failed relationships on “Just Might,” her duet with PARTYNEXTDOOR (“I just might be a ho”), while the OVO signee plays the cheating boyfriend with every excuse. The pettiness reaches an apex on “I’ll Kill You,” when she vows “I’ll go to hell or jail about you boy” next to Jhené Aiko, like the final scene of a twisted revenge thriller.
Like many of her current R&B peers, Walker is working through her obsession with ’90s R&B. “Body” flips 702’s “Get It Together,” and “Come Thru,” both samples and features Usher. Otherwise, her writing is irresistibly fresh. Whether she has on love goggles or is shaking up her boyfriend by pointing a gun at him—out of love, of course—it’s part of what makes Summer Walker feel like a real person, making the real misguided decisions that happen when you’re over it, or telling yourself that you are.
Sinead Harnett makes her official debut.
At long last, Sinead Harnett has rolled out her debut album, delivering on her Lessons In Love creation.
The new effort finishes up with 12 tracks that include the previously-released "Leo Bear" and the Gallant-assisted "Pulling Away."
“The more I love, the more I learn about its magic, its importance and its lessons,” Harnett last told Complex in August. “In every song, there is a lesson. But most importantly, in every song, there is love. I never planned the way this album would take shape and I didn’t know the title or concept until I’d chosen the songs. Up until now, I hadn’t even realized what my purpose is as a writer. But now, standing in front of this project I see that I’ve done everything out of love.”
Grammy Award-winning musician, songwriter, and producer Raphael Saadiq is back with Jimmy Lee, his first album in eight years, to be released August 23 on Columbia Records. Jimmy Lee is a deeply personal, musically ambitious work inspired by his brother’s struggles with addiction that explores the razor’s edge people walk as they pursue pleasure that leads to pain — an incisive and empathetic work from a master at the peak of his art. Jimmy Lee was self-produced by Raphael Saadiq and recorded at Blakeslee Recording Co. in North Hollywood. The album features contributions from Brook D’Leau, Kendrick Lamar, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.
With her third full-length, Wide Nose Full Lips, SuCh supplies several levels of soulful genius and a more confident observation on life
For a soul stylist who once make a dent on a nationwide scale with American Idol, SuCh has already achieved a remarkable career under her own terms in the independent music world. Whether penning her intense insights surrounding real life on her first two CD’s, Stretch Marks and Trial and Error, or spinning a moving perspective of Paul McCartney’s, “Maybe I’m Amazed,” this Denver, Colorado native shares her vulnerable heart without hesitation.
No wonder her upcoming release is suitably entitled Wide Nose Full Lips, a confirmation of the singer/songwriter’s confidence that has matured artistically. For starters, two of SuCh’s previous singles are on tap. The intimate romantic thrills of “Beyond Dark” connects to the quiet storm zone and her spot-on remake of John Legend’s breakthrough hit, “Ordinary People,” showcases her vocal range and articulation. Other highlights on Wide Nose Full Lips include the title track, SuCh’s illustration of what beautiful sounds and looks like, a spoken word collaboration, “Melanin,” featuring Kerrie Joy and the retro U.K. soul up-tempo jam, “The Real Thing.”
Her third full-length Wide Nose Full Lips is available now. In the meantime, check out the samples for SuCh’s latest project through most digital outlets.
The Urban Music Scene
Lorenzo Ferguson keeps to his triennial +FE Music release schedule with his fourth album for the label, issued after a documentary about the third one, other original music for film and television -- including pitch-perfect contributions to the satirical Sherman's Showcase -- and abundant collaborative work. From the title all the way down, FourFront has a composition like that of SunStorm, ManMade, and SkyBreak. Decked out with feel-good love and it-could-be-love songs tidily arranged over a sturdy post-disco/pre-new jack swing foundation, it similarly features a shifting cast of guest vocalists known and new to Zo! sessions. Among the familiar, most prominent is touring partner Carmen Rodgers on two highlights that sparkle. Also in the mix is Phonte, of course, either tightening the material in the background or duetting with one of the compatible new associates, Madison McFerrin, who elsewhere powers a delightfully featherlight if poignant bossa nova diversion. Ferguson continues to make incremental refinements and progressions, remarkably keeping it direct and replayable while adding detail and handling the bulk of the instrumentation on a level that verges on virtuosic. Whether written by the leader or the collaborators, the same can be said of the lyrics. Even the simplest romantic sentiments contain bright moments that stick out, like when Devin Morrison softly consoles that he'll "kick a silly freestyle, just to see you smile," or when Sy Smith bats her eyelashes with "I can see in your reflection that it's time to break the glass," signaling that she wants more than friendship. Strong finales have run throughout the Zo! discography, and there's another one here in "Step Up Front," a deep Afro-Latin house groove as high-spirited as anything by Masters at Work-related projects like Nuyorican Soul and Elements of Life. Moreover, it and the two preceding tracks add up to the finest three-track stretch on any Zo! LP. Ahead of the finish is "Crash," flirty machine soul fronted by Smith with discreet nods to Sly & the Family Stone, Shalamar, and Teena Marie. The succeeding penultimate number is the zigzagging slow jam "Sweat," which with Stokley's feverish hospitality can be heard as an answer song of acceptance.
The wait is over! Grammy award songwriter Johnta Austin is back with his new single “Love Angel”. You may be familiar with his name as he’s written for everyone from Mary J. Blige (“Be Without You”), Tyrese (“Sweet Lady”) and Mariah Carey (“We Belong Together”).
We’ve had a chance to broadcast his talents as solo artists over the years through demos and various singles he’s released, including the 2006 fan-favorite “Turn It Up,”. He was gearing up to release “Ocean Drive” in the late 2000’s before the project eventually got shelved.
He’s now signed a label deal with Empire and released his new project “Love, Sex & Religion” available now.
The posthumous Mac Miller tracks keep surfacing as of late. Following the release of the Metro Boomin-produced single “Real” just yesterday, Anderson .Paak‘s band Free National and their “Time” single marks the first official posthumous single from the late rapper. The track also features Kali Uchis and made its premiere on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 Radio show.
.Paak announced the single by sharing the single’s artwork on social media along with the caption, “6/12 be ready.” The duo were close and .Paak even paid tribute to Miller during his Coachella set. “One hand in the air for my brother, I miss him so much,” he said as he performed their shard track “Dang!”
Free Nationals are gearing up for their debut album, would should be landing soon. On the other-hand, Miller’s final album Swimming was released in August 2018 and garnered a GRAMMY nomination for Best Rap album.
The APX are releasing their highly anticipated self-titled sophomore album Amplified Experiment! Detroit native singer/songwriter Erika Dawn alongside her prodigy multi talented husband Dee Rhodes are an Atlanta based electro funk/soul duo collectively known as The APX.
Amplified Experiment encores the duo's sound with a 2020 approach, fueled with the influence of the finest traditional 80’s & 90’s style funk, house, & soul.
Including the previously released single Jupiter, Amplified Experiment includes a completely self-produced and masterfully crafted collection of brand new songs that will make you dance, make love, relax or all of the above!
Amplified Experiment is a breath taking catalyst, ushered in by Erika Dawn's soul stirring, nostalgic power-house vocals, accompanied by Dee Rhodes' heart-pounding, adrenaline injected, soulful soundtrack.
"Amplified Experiment is our journey further into the world of funk," says Dee Rhodes, "You'll really get to experience different sides of Erika's vocal abilities while gauging the range of styles our production can go.
For the past two years, we have been working very hard on this album and it is really special to us!"
Soul singer Noel Gourdin’s husky baritone proves wide and rangy enough to encompass both poles of the relationship thing on tunes “Low Down” and “Lovin’ Up,” two collaborations with producer Regi Myrix taken from an anticipated EP that will be released later in the summer.
“Lovin’ Up” is an expression of the sweet feel of discovery, while “Low Down” is a tale that explores the harsh light of discovery. “Lovin’ Up,” is a mid-tempo track that uses the opening bass line riff from Michael Jackson’s classic “Can’t Help It” as a the jumping off point before transforming into a bouncy track where that bass line - along with some kicking drums and feathery keyboard - serve as the foundation. Gourdin’s mature baritone caresses lyrics that express his good that has come his way in the form of the lady in his life. He has no plans to give the love that he feels to anyone else.
Gourdin gives us something totally different on “Low Down,” a soulful number about a man who realizes that after all of the ways that he tried to let his woman know that the love fires were cooling, his choice to slip out is going to have consequences. Those consequences will leave him labeled as a “low down dirty…” Gourdin displays his range on this number, moving from that distinctive gravelly baritone to an angelic high tenor, as he tries to explain what led him to stray and try to state his case for reconciliation.
Gourdin acknowledges that the lyrics for “Low Down” were torn from the headlines of personal experience. “After listening to the instrumental music for “Low Down”, I first gravitated to the last 4 bars of the Hook sequence. It was most definitely saying something to me, and it said, "I'm a Low, a Low-Down dirty shame". I got out of a long-term relationship last year, and most of these lyrics are from a personal space and are extremely heartfelt and real.”