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soul

Music

Jacob Sibi-Okumu – The Joy Christmas Brings: It’s Never Too Early For a Festive Hit

That’s right folks, Christmas is coming whether we like it or not, and so is the Christmas music. You’d be forgiven for recoiling in fear as your first thought turns to Mariah Carey and Paul McCartney. But Jacob Sibi-Okumu’s latest single “The Joy Christmas Brings” may be the festive hit you’ve been waiting to fall in love with. As you listen to the ambiently slow soulful Jazz crooner with his mesmeric vocal capacity, you’re treated to his authentic ability to allow each syllable in the lyrics to resonate over the subtle and tentative arrangement in the single. During the chorus, there’s plenty of groove and rhythmic drive, but the emotive vibe and sentiment of the track aren’t lost. To put it simply, it isn’t a track that you listen to, it’s a soundscape you melt into which will make you hope an album is in the pipelines from the up and coming artist.

If you feel like getting in the festive spirit early, or would just like a pure shot of unadulterated, sweet Funky Soul Jazz you can head over to SoundCloud for yourselves now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Divina – Praying for Amnesia: Lyrically Sharp, Resonantly Piercing R&B Soul

R&B & Soul tracks this resonant can only be born out of the dark, dank depths of despair, whilst you would expect plenty of sonorous emotion from a Soul track, the amount of weight behind the lyrics of Divina Blackson’s latest single Praying for Amnesia nearly floors you.

As a lyrical snob, I’m almost impossible to please, yet the wit and pain which went into the lyrics of Praying for Amnesia proves that the London, UK-based artist is anything but your typical songstress. The instrumentals had just as many hooks as the wounding lyricism, through a pioneering mix of smooth R&B Praying for Amnesia progresses through the rattle and snare of 808 beats which give the standout single a contemporary feel with a timeless R&B root-deep charm. Polished off with a pitch perfect production, you’ve got a radio-ready hit with Divina’s latest work of soul-driven alchemy.

You can check out Divina’s latest single Praying for Amnesia for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Crystal Sherie – God’s Plan: Vibrant Soul Synergy

God’s Plan is the fourth single released from Crystal Sherie’s latest album ‘Beautifully Broken’, the album title gives you a vivid idea of what soundscapes will be contained by the release. But nothing can quite prepare you for the amount of soul which will hit you as you listen to the emerging artist’s single unfold. The waves of unadulterated catharsis which hit you through the melody of the chorus is almost hypnotic.

Crystal Sherie’s ability as a vocalist won’t fail to leave you in admiration of her ethereally emotive style. Yet, it’s the authenticity and sincerity which blew me away with Crystal. The artist possesses an almost bewitching sensibility which commands you to hang from every pitch-perfect word.

As an atheist, it’s safe to say I was a little sceptical of a track titled ‘God’s Plan’ but I was immediately bowled over by the vibrant synergy of the track.

You can check out Crystal Sherie’s latest single God’s Plan for yourselves by heading over to Soundcloud now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

NinaReed – Hot Coco: Ambient Transience Entwined with Urban Groove

NinaReed’s sound isn’t one that’s easily forgotten. After discovering her ground-breaking single Fire which dropped earlier this year I’ve been gripped in anticipation to hear her next release of experimentally cathartic soundscapes. And sure enough by mixing an urban groove with ambient transience NinaReed has created yet another blinding single with Hot Coco.

With one of the most harmonious Trap melodies I’ve heard unfold, the track progresses with NinaReed’s voice in perfect rhythm with the beat. Waves of reverb sat atop of the beat to create a lucidly alchemic feel that stands as testament to the emerging artists talent. Her vocals were smooth, yet ethereally piercing at the same time. While you slip into the Soulful instrumentals the lyrics are more than enough to keep hold of your attention, the narrative styling of the lyrics fed even more energy into the rapturously laid-back beat.

You can check out NinaReed’s latest single which dropped in July 2018 on SoundCloud now

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Sam. – Wreck my Soul: Pensively Passionate, Rhythmically Raw R&B

There’s something about up & coming R&B & Soul artist Sam’s track Wreck my Soul that crawls into every inch of your being as you absorb the pensive melancholy. Each element of Sam’s track is uniquely stylised to enable you to feel the pure passion which she’s projecting through her lyrics, vocals and beats. The Toronto based artist has created a track that stands as true testament to her soulful style as the track runs completely free of ego or any notion of grandeur. In short, Wreck my Soul is raw, organic, and mesmerizingly blissful. Whilst the production quality may not be quite there after her vocals were allowed to fade into the sound multiple times throughout the track, you really can’t expect more from an emerging artist. I have no double that her sound will be radio ready in no time.

You can check out Sam’s latest single for yourself which was released earlier this year on SoundCloud now. You can also check out Sam’s latest release If He Knew which dropped May 2018 where Sam’s urban groove was taken into a brand-new R&B arena.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Sadie Jemmett – OK.WOW: Succinctly Sweet Soul Tinged with Political Insanity

Whilst Sadie Jemmett’s latest single OK.WOW started off with a rather questionable use of sampling, the rest of the track was one of the purest offerings of R&B Jazz Soul that you could hope for.

Sadie created one of the most succinctly grounding tracks I’ve checked out this year. As the track flows through her domineeringly blissful voice that pours out pure pensive soul is accompanied with some Donald Trump sampling to create the perfect contrast between his belligerent idle rambling accompanied with Sadie’s cathartic vocal offering. The brass used in the track allowed the Jazz roots of the soundscape to bleed through, whilst the contemporarily fresh trap style beat reverberated through the synergy laid down through Jemmett’s vocals.

If you want to be sobered by some succinctly sweet Soul you can check out Sadie Jemmett’s latest single OK.WOW on Spotify now. The track title will make a lot of sense after you do. Each one of Sadie Jemmett’s eloquent tracks stand as testament to her uniquely potent potential, yet with OK.WOW the singer songwriter may have surpassed herself.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

J.J. Leone – Silver Lining: Urban Aural Alchemy

With his new track Silver Lining J.J. Leone proved that he’s an R&B triple threat as a songwriter, vocalist and producer. The down-tempo mesmerising R&B & Soul beat brought the genre into the 21st century. There aren’t many R&B tracks that incorporate a blisteringly beautiful guitar solo into the progression and J.J. Leone proved that, that is exactly where they are going wrong. The licks of the guitar grip you after you’ve moved through the waves of the cathartic sound within the not so quintessential R&B beats, each snare of the drum is crystal clear and viscerally poignant against the off-beat rhythms of the guitar. All that is without mentioning J.J. Leone’s evocative vocals which moved me more than any other R&B Soul track I’ve checked out this year.

If you’re looking for a smooth R&B track to add some soul to your playlists You can check out J.J. Leone’s single Silver Lining on SoundCloud now which was released in May 2018. I’m sure you’ll agree after checking out Leone’s urban aural alchemy that he has everything it takes to rise up from the underground with his prodigally pioneering sound.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Thoko – Fallin’: Veraciously Mesmerising R&B & Soul

There are some tracks that you listen to for the first time and it takes a while for you to feel the beat, then there are those that bowl you over from the first chord. Thoko Namuya’s latest single Fallin’ is absolutely the latter. The Piano intro to her African twist on Neo Soul masterpiece production lay down the perfect melody for her succinctly sultry vocal approach to resonate through the soundscape. Whilst Fallin’ falls close to the R&B & Soul genre, Thoko’s style is so much more, the multi-layered sound is an orchestration of fluidity, the title may be Fallin’, but contained within the Jazz infused harmonies was a transcendence directed by Thoko’s vocals guiding you to a new plateau. To create her latest single Fallin’ Thoko teamed up with producer VtheVowel who polished the track to absolute perfection.

You can check out Thoko’s veraciously mesmerising latest single which was released April 23rd, 2018 on SoundCloud now along with her other standout single Down.

To stay up to date with all of Thoko’s stunning new singles connect with her via Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

SYBS – The reinvention of soul

SYBS is one of those artists who, despite working in the contemporary world of soulful, R&B infused pop, also manages to remind us of a host of great names from Roberta Flack to Witney Houston to Toni Braxton. And that, of course, is the secret isn’t it? It  often isn’t really about inventing new genres, or gene-splicing musical styles which have no business getting that intimate, that rarely works anyway. No, the art is to create music which is both of the here and now and yet subtly references the past. A blend of the fresh and familiar, new but just with a slight touch of nostalgia.

The Sweetest Taboo is a taste of how the whole R&B, pop-soul and funk genres thread their way through the modern commercial world. They build their sounds through the technologies available, clothe themselves with dance drives and pop enthusiasm and take their sound out of the niche markets of the past and spread them to a wide range of musical movers and discerning pop pickers and artist like SYBS are certainly leading that charge.

Music

Dwight James & The Royals – A right royal smooth groove

Whilst other artists try to create the future, attempt to build new genres, force musical styles together in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve, Dwight James and his regal musical posse known as The Royals, know that there is a better way. They carefully sift through the past, gather their favourite sounds and uses those building blocks to create music which both nods to the past and carries some of its musical ideals into a new sunrise and present it to a new audience but without resorting to the nostalgia ticket. This is music of the here and now, but for once it is honest enough to wear its musical heart on its velvet jacketed sleeves.

Need Your Loving is a sumptuous collection of sounds, revelling in funky grooves, soulful vocals, gently flexed R&B muscle and a retro-vibe coating. It tips its natty fedora to a glorious pop heritage whilst striding confidently into a hazy, nu-soul future. Music is cyclical, we all know that and such stridently groovesome music has never really gone out of fashion, not once you get beyond the fabrications and corporate facades of the modern music business. Some may see this as a retro laced musical exercise, and that is fair enough, but having accepted that music is cyclical and fashions always come back around I prefer to see this twelve-legged package of wonderfully mellifluous sounds as way ahead of the curve rather than still riding the last wave.

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