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Ilustrado painted in love’s luminous tones in his latest soul single, Incognito

Illustrado became a conduit of soul as he tapped into the tendency of cupid’s arrows to bathe your world in luminous colour in his latest release, Incognito; every note resonates with the genre’s rich heritage. Slip into the single and find yourself in a world where gratitude is as tangible as the air you breathe and the coffee which slips past your lips.

Incognito is a masterful blend of classic soul and contemporary flair; Illustrado’s roots in opera and musical theatre shine through, lending a unique depth and sophistication to the track which subtly evolves by bringing in staccato guitar chords, reminiscent of Nile Rodgers’ iconic funk, to create a rhythm that pulsates with life. By the time the outro rolls around, the vocal harmonies reach skyward to touch the sweet spot and lift the listener to new emotional heights.

Even though the world may be more divided than ever, this personal narrative speaks to the universally transformative power of love and inspiration, resonating across borders and cultures. As Illustrado continues to chart his course in the realms of rock, soul, and dance, one thing is certain: his future is as bright as the melodies he crafts.

Stream Incognito on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Abeni embarked on a soulful journey between past and present with her seminal single, Better Days

Abeni tapped into the collective distaste for the present through the heartfelt expression in her single, Better Days, from the debut EP, Lesson Learned. The track is a poignant narrative that encapsulates the essence of nostalgia, introspection, and the deeply human tendency to yearn for days gone by.

Abeni, whose journey from a shy, music-averse child to a multifaceted artist, infuses Better Days with a depth that is both personal and universally relatable. The song is a lament on the present, a reflection of fear towards an uncertain future, and a longing to recapture the bliss of the past.

Sonically, Better Days is a masterful blend of genres. Abeni’s background, spanning from classical to jazz and pop, is evident in the way she weaves these influences into a soulful tapestry. The track is underpinned by grooves reminiscent of 90s R&B, yet it feels utterly contemporary. Her voice, rich and emotive, acts as a guiding light through the layers of sound, ensuring that the listener feels every ounce of the song’s emotional weight.

The song traverses the personal and the universal, touching on the collective desire to find solace in the past as we navigate an often-tumultuous present. It’s a testament to her skill as a songwriter and her sensitivity as an artist.

Abeni Mason-Draffen is not just a singer; she’s a storyteller, and her stories need to be heard. As she continues on her musical journey, one thing is certain: the future is bright for this talented artist.

Stream Abeni’s debut EP on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Self-reflection transcended passion in FATEFROMMARS’ experimental RnB single, I DO CARE

The up-and-coming NYC-residing artist FATEFROMMARS averted all the cliché RnB tropes in the standout single, I DO CARE, taken from her debut album, HIATUS, by prioritising self-compassion over passion and favouring self-care over seduction.

I DO CARE invites you to gaze into the intimacy of the singer-songwriter’s candour-fuelled introspection by providing an exposition into how powerful it is to focus on your growth instead of depending on ephemeral love stories to fill the void and become your sole narrative.

With a kicking beat and sultry smooth indie RnB instrumentals that break into reverb-drenched soul rock riffs mellifluously flowing beneath her velveteen vocal lines, I DO CARE is the perfect track to kick back to and remind yourself that avoidance is sometimes a necessary detour on your path to healing.

By giving her experimentalism ample earworm appeal and never shying away from versing on the negatives to inspire authentic growth, FATEFROMMARS became the most seminal new RnB artist of 2023. If I could entrust one artist with the future of the genre, I wouldn’t think twice about handing the evolution over to her.

The debut LP dropped on August 31; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast