Toronto-based producer POLUN and just outside of Toronto-based artist Gracie Ella comes together for a modern groove in Higher Ground. Now this is POLUN’s debut as a producer (based on his Spotify profile) and this track really goes in. The soft, smooth voice of Gracie fits the groove. And one other thing I love is how clear she comes off. Even in the runs, there isn’t a lot of vocal gymnastics (if that’s a thing). I can follow where she’s going. They say that POLUN is a hip hop producer, but maybe he can hang around for a little while longer and give us some more R&B jams.
Toronto-based artist Adria Kain is back at it again with her single Ocean, a reprisal from a version done years ago. This track is number two on her upcoming debut album ‘When Flowers Bloom’ which is supposed to be releasing this January. The guitars that are in the background, Adria’s deep voice, and slow cadence really tugs at your heart.
“It’s beyond me how this song came full circle. I remember where I was in life when I first wrote it years ago. I knew it was a good song, not quite my favourite, but it had an important message that I think even went over my own head. I wrote it from a place of sadness. I wanted to create a voice for myself. One that I could run to whenever there was no one else. One that would create a platform big enough for me to exist in without boundaries, like the Ocean, because what’s bigger than that really.”
I love that Adria decided to come back and do this song over. It’s interesting that songs may never change, but it’ll mean different depending on the person and their recent experiences. That’s how art is. And how compelling that this concept can be applied for the one who created the particular piece of art. Experience, such from Adria, can breathe new life into something she’s done years ago. I love the track and it’s something you can just relax to as it plays.
Edit: I watched the video the day of release and the people who put the video together did an excellent job. I can see why Adria can be so conflicted. It seems as though she was happy with them both and as the viewer, I felt that. Now I have that picture in my head of what Adria may have felt writing and singing this song.
Marie Dahlstrom makes songs so good that you can’t contain them in a single track. Need You, Pt. 1 & 2 released where she went solo for the first track and enlisted Dayne Jordan and Dan Diggas for the second part. Credit to Dan for the production because it’s that familiar Marie sound. Soft, chill, and laid back. Her voice is so therapeutic and I wonder if she is aware of it. I can’t get enough of it.
The first part of the theme is Marie always saying in your ear, “You know I need you babe.” You hear this on the backdrop of all of these situations of where the world simply sucks. So in order to get through it all, she needs you. There’s no other way that she’s gonna get through.
Then in part 2, Dayne Jordan comes on and gives us his flow in which he gives more lines than Marie. Dayne discusses that he’s a flawed person and is well-aware of that fact, but he moves forward. Better to fall or fail at doing something that aligns with your principles than being afraid to do anything at all.
You also get the second part of Marie and what she wants to express in this song. The first part is more of a “grand scheme” and how does she fit within it all when it comes to her life, especially the more recent years. And then how she interprets those experiences as what she thinks it means to her. Then the second part, which is short, I believe is simply that people grow and evolve and there’s nothing one can do about it, good or bad.
I find it surprising that I haven’t covered one of her songs before because I LOVE Marie Dahlstrom and her music. I am happy that I could do this at least once. But we are definitely doing more. If you haven’t heard of Marie Dahlstrom, stop waiting and just go down her catalog. Start with Need You, pt, 1 & 2.
Moroccan artist Leil gets on some amapiano in her latest track 3ini. I’ve been following her for awhile and there is a lot of diversity in her music. I don’t tend to hear a lot from North Africa so every artist I get a chance to listen to stands out. Amapiano, like any other type of music, is universal but I still got surprised when I saw it coming from Morocco. Not the style one hears for sure.
There is also a music video tied to the song and there isn’t much going on. You see Leil in some camera shots walking around, but nothing more than that. Leil’s voice is noticeably soft and it just melds so well with the production. I can also say that after a few repeats, 3ini just grows on you. If you are a fan of amapiano, than you can toss this track on the list.
Jojo never misses with her music and the track/music video she gave on Friday was genius with Anxiety (Burlinda’s Theme). This song is dedicated to her anxiety personified as Burlinda (what a name to give it). She talks about how Burlinda does all these things that anxiety does and with the twist that she can’t tell at times if it’s her or Jojo doing whatever. The bridge leading to the outro has a lot of “Oh, oh-oh’s” and there is a reason for it.
The music video fills in the empty space especially with the voice over towards the end of the song. You have cameos from Omarion and Lauren Jauregui to add in the experience. This experience is a new anxiety drug called Tryesta. You see Burlinda just be there like bleeding, but after that drug kicked in, she was alert and attentive. The scene with Omarion was really funny because I don’t think he was aware that she mentally was there.
The concept of flipping “discussing anxiety” as a drug commercial was genius. All of the common tropes were there. You have Jojo in random places and she’s out of it. Then you have a breakdown with the doctor and a breakthrough after she gets medicated. And the chef’s kiss was her putting medicine jars in her hair. She went all in for the production.
This is the second track from her latest EP, trying not to think about it. 12 tracks including an intro with three interludes. She’s giving more away for free than others as an album. No judgment, but content was never hard for Jojo it seems where others struggle to get a project over 30 minutes long. She’s not one to put out a half-assed project.
Montreal-based singer Kallitechnis has finally released her latest anticipated EP ‘Because It Feels Good’ that has been picking up steam since just towards the end of August. I have been following her since before COVID started (so that’s like a long time) and there has always been quality coming from her and her team. Her brand of R&B has so much life and happiness within. Within this EP, you can tell in the tracks that she has that glow where in her world, the sun is always shining bright with no clouds in the sky.
One of the tracks that I love the most is Hold Me Down with Kofi. There is a good chemistry between him and Kallitechnis on this track.
“This duet is the type of r&b music I used to daydream and fall in love to. I’m happy to be the one making a song like this now. Full circle thing.”
The production really helps because it comes off as playful. Playful as it is, it’s a serious topic about relationships and more importantly the communication. Sometimes you just gotta clear things up and make sure you are on the same page. The message is echoed when they both are crying out to each other to “Please just don’t give up”.
My second favorite track from Kallitechnis is Dinner With A Gemini. We should be getting a music video next month for the track. I am curious as to how it would look as this track is when we get to see a side we don’t see often. She talks a lot in the chorus about not seeing the guy ever again and how this (relationship) is the end. Usually we get a more chill version, but not so much in this case.
“I don’t talk much shit, but when I do, this is what it sounds like”
The flow and cadence is pretty good as well. It reminds me of Qveen Herby when she would flow in some of her songs
I really dig her latest EP and you need to spend some time with the project. Only six tracks so it won’t take long to listen to the entire thing. Then you can put it on repeat for 4 or 5 times.
There are also posts on two other singles from the EP
I also want to list her Bandcamp page as well. Support your artists.
We are at the end of another week and ending it on a bang with lordkez and Shekhinah with Belladonna. This track is a part of lordkez’s upcoming project Midsummer. I thought I had done a post before involving lordkez because I’ve seen her name in my social media news a lot, but as it turns out, I covered Shekhinah November last year with her song Tides.
The production is so infectious when you listen really closely. There is that surface level on top, but the magic happens around that bass. It’s not the same and switches up from time to time. There are even parts of it that reminds me of producer Sango when he would dabble in Brazilian trap music for his instrumentals.
The theme of the song sounds like it’s about an alternate ego of a woman named Belladonna and how she lives in a higher plane than us mortals. The way they sing about her (and probably themselves as her) makes you in awe of her. All of these platitudes and adjectives sung are fitting with the production and just how upbeat it is. Men (and women?) would give up so much just to spend some time with her and Belladonna is aware and makes sure she’s just a step ahead of everyone else.
The music video is simply a *chef’s kiss*. I am loving that the music videos for the past couple of years are introducing some fauna for the visuals. And aside from the plants and flowers, everyone on set was on point with their outfits. Can’t really put a word to it, but it is like seeing art come to life. The only time the character was broken was when lordkez was doing the second half of her verse. I’m not even saying anything was wrong because I really appreciate the details within the video. The song and video is a breath of fresh air audibly and visually. Gonna be on the lookout for her upcoming project Midsummer.
Can we get two cheers for Maverick Sabre and Demae for a smooth neo-soul track with Not Easy Love. Dare I say that it invokes the moods you would get from D’Angelo with the melody the guitar provides throughout the track. It’s just a relaxing vibe to just melt away in and Maverick’s voice helps in that regard. Not overbearing yet buttery smooth to the ears. I could listen to the smooth brother sing all day.
I also think the music video was spot on for the message it was conveying. You have different shots of the two going back and forth as it is within the lyrics. You have Maverick saying that he can’t fully commit to the relationship because he thinks he’s not good enough for her or he’s just not built for commitment. Then you have Demae coming in with the second verse explaining that he is better than what he is saying. That he should attempt to try and to set aside his pride for some real love.
The point of the music video that hit hard was the last two scenes where you’d thought you’d see them together, but they are apart. Maverick is in the record studio while Demae is at home by herself. Way to stick the landing for the theme. As a side note, the lighting for the video was so good with using the reds to pop out on screen. The neo-soul vibes of it all were calling for a mood like this and I was loving the entire aesthetic.
Based on the recent posts I’ve had about Kirby, you can say that I am really getting excited about any particular future project she may have in her pocket. The recent single ‘Can We Be Friends?’ is about trying to come out of a recent break up on an upside. Kirby thinks that there is something salvageable in this relationship and if it’s nothing serious, at least be friends for the future. There is that outro, “breakup to makeup”, that one could assume that there is an opening possibly to get back to how things were before. There is also that classic song from The Stylistics called ‘Break Up to Make Up’ where they say it’s just a game for fools. Who is to say that she knows, but still is holding out for hope.
On another note, I must not have seen anything on social media yet about any announced project. She has so many singles released in a short span of time. We are getting something soon right? I hope so.
I don’t ever recall hearing a bad song from Amber Mark and let’s throw her latest single What It Is into the mix. I decided to take a look at the credits for this song because it felt like we’ve reached her at her prime after this song’s release and I saw the name of Julian Bunetta. Never heard of him before, but it seems as though he’s one of the main producers for all of the One Direction songs as well as a handful of Amber’s songs. A biased opinion of course, but it sounds like Julian is getting the best of her potential on these tracks.
One other thing that I noticed is this track has a 5 minute and 25 second runtime. Ambitious to have a track run for so long, but when the production and sounds are so good, you don’t mind it. Amber is able to get the most of the song and short of a guitar solo, she makes her presence known in every second of the track. There is also that slight rasp in her voice that comes out at times. When those spots come, it perks my ears up as she adds another dimension to the song. One good example is that scream she gave around the 2:45 mark. Very raw.
“What It Is’ low key is the title track of the album without it actually being the title track. It comes from going through negative experiences which end up being the gateway to a question I think I’ll be asking for the rest of my life. What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?”Amber Mark
So Amber touches on the above during the pre-chorus of the song where she talks about falling apart messing with love, but then asks God what’s the point of it all? If this is supposed to be the title track (so-to-speak) and having it at track #2 of her debut album, I wonder if she’ll be able to get her question answered. Or maybe she’ll end up with more questions than answers. 17 tracks is pretty long and I can’t wait til the release date.