Bringing a stressful but successful year to a close, Toronto’s rising Rn’B star Emanuel rounds off 2020 with the release of his gorgeous, new sophomore EP, Alt Therapy Session 2: Transformation, released on the 4th of December.
The project follows on from a string of releases from Emanuel this year including his debut single, ‘Need You‘, his debut EP, Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion and of course, the critically acclaimed lead single and music video for, ‘Black Woman‘ which was praised by the likes of Stereofox, Atwood Magazine, When the Horn Blows and Secret Eclectic.
As an artist still so young in the game, Emanuel has made immense strides in the short but fruitful time he’s been around. The young Canadian was picked up by Universal Music Canada early in the year and has recently partnered with Motown Records to take his music and message to the next level. His latest offering is a 4-track sonic masterpiece defined by spacious production, Rn’B infused melodies, soulful vocal performances and Emanuel’s famed songwriting, bursting with candid lyricism and emotive language.
The first track, Magazines is an analysis of the human condition and our desperate need for status and material wealth and the gratification of others. Over deep, repeating synth chords and distant electric guitar, Emanuel critiques the shallowness of it all as he observes people attempting to fill the void in their hearts with earthly belongings. It’s a slightly different sound from Emanuel, from the langauge and subject matter to the huskiness of his voice and the production, ‘Magazines’ sees Emanuel step out of his comfort zone a little and flex his skills in a new and not-quite-seen-before way.
Speaking of his release, Emanuel states that ‘Magazines’ is
“…a projection of the observation that there are a lot of people who are desperate for wealth gratification and are trying to fill their broken hearts with a whole lot of nothing.”
Following the opening track is ‘Black Woman’ and then ‘PTH‘, one of the most exciting songs on the tape. Pushing his musical boundaries both in sound and subject matter, ‘PTH’ is Emanuel’s most raunchy song to date, a highly sensual, almost erotic song with a smooth-as-honey Rn’B beat and subtle electric guitar riffs. It’s all about the pleasure found in sex and intimacy and the appreciation of the female form. Despite it’s R-rated content the track is still super tasteful, the sexual nature of the lyrics don’t cheapen the song at all, if anything they add to it.
“The song is super carnal,but it’s also really beautiful – I hold those experiences and those moments in high regard. I wanted it to be an expression of love and about appreciating a woman’s body in that moment.”
Last but not least is Session 2‘s pièce de résistance, the song we’ve all been waiting to hear – the ‘Black Woman’ remix featuring legendary reggae artist Tarrus Riley and produced by Supa Dups who’ve come together to amplify the message of the song even further with their invaluable musical input.
Speaking on the release, Emanuel shared:
“This is a legendary link-up! I know Tarrus Riley from going to the parties of my Jamaican friends where they play music that’s big and nostalgic for them. His song ‘She’s Royal’ is just huge, people are still bumping it in 2020! I think people really appreciate the legacy of that song and the link up is really big for what ‘Black Woman’ means and what I want the legacy of ‘Black Woman’ to be. To have him on it, it felt like the stars were aligning. I think the impact that this will have to the diaspora is amazing.”
Placed over a classic reggae-type beat and layered with synths evocative of that easy-breezy island lifestyle, the ‘Black Woman’ remix is a welcomed reimagining of an already faultless song. Tarrus Riley’s verse enters seamlessly into the mix, supplementing Emanuel’s stirring vocals and resonating message with his own additions, affirming the beauty of black women, their intellect and their rich and varied histories, a fantastic close to the EP by Emanuel and a very exciting glimpse into what the next year might hold for Toronto’s next big thing in Rn’B.
Stream Emanuel’s Alt Therapy Session 2: Transformation EP here
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