R&B and soul are two of those classic sounds that haven’t wavered over the years, instead they’ve continued to evolve and branch out into exciting new frontiers. So without further ado, let’s have a listen.
Los Angeles-based artist SHERIE transports the listeners to another place and time with her dreamy and luxuriously layered new single ‘Alé’. The Haitian American pays homage to her heritage with this English and Haitian Creole song that goes from descriptive, almost conversational English verses into catchy, sing-along choruses in Creole. While this one has all the hallmarks of R&B, the artist incorporates elements of that island atmosphere with woody percussion. Like all of SHERIE’s tracks, her sound is super uplifting and easily sparks repeat listens.
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Next on our sonic travels, we head to New York City where Chinese American artist Vivi Hu can be found crafting delicate and thoughtful R&B tracks. Her latest release is ‘Vivi, Hu?’ an obvious play on words that leads this talented songwriter to question the very essence of personal identity. She keeps this concept going throughout the song’s imagery, which is inspired by her Chinese first name 雪薇（Xuewei), meaning “snow” and ”rose”. The beat here is pretty stripped back, reminiscent more of simple bedroom pop creations, because here, all ears are on the gorgeous vocal melodies.
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Our global tour just keeps on going as we head to London to catch up with India and UK raised artist Ishani for her latest installment of anti-status quo songwriting. ‘Powertripp’ is the highly descriptive piece of storytelling embedded within a dark-pop and alternative R&B soundscape designed to reflect the dark side of relationships when control and power battles take over. It starts off very gloomy, but as Ishani’s confidence grows, the tracks becomes more complex and upbeat in keeping with the message of self love that’s key to this artist’s music. ‘Powertripp’ also has a dramatic music video directed and executive produced by Yolanda Barker, with video DOP and executive producer Beatriz Delgado Mena, and an all-women base crew.
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Let’s head to the United States next to hear what independent Boston, MA artist Khamari has been cooking up for us. It’s the super sweet and smooth ‘Drifting’, a soulful number that uses contemporary production techniques alongside classic instrumentals to explore that need for escapism. His sublime vocals search for a way to leave his struggle behind and it would be the serenity of his music is one such path he takes in times of stress. He contrasts this weary outlook with clips from Nina Simone’s iconic ‘Feeling Good’, which gives hope but also an ironic edge to this track.
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Hailing from Austria, Madishu is still super early on in her career but with songs like ‘Overnight Bag’ in her wheelhouse, it’s clear that this young artist is destined for big things. This song walks the line between radio-ready pop and 00s R&B with a dose of bassy grooves thrown in there for good measure. It’s an impossibly catchy track that celebrates intimacy and honesty in a romantic relationship, like she sings “we don’t play no mind games”. What a breath of fresh air!
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