It’s clear that we are living through a new era for the urban music scene. R’n’b, gospel or even soul music are touching the entire world, from London to Los Angeles. The last months and weeks or even days, I have had the honor to fall on some extraordinary artists or/and their new and latest projects. The four people that I present to you today are very different from one another. And more precisely, they are flourishing in their own universes. Introducing : Victoria Monét, Rosie Lowe, Becky and the Birds and Peter CottonTale.
VICTORIA MONÉT : THE « JAGUAR » ALBUM
For years I’ve been hearing Victoria Monét’s voice on a number of rappers’ project, starting with Lupe Fiasco‘s phenomenal album on the song « Kill » with Ty Dolla $ign. This song made me very curious about this sensational feminine voice. Feminine but fierce as she owned the song immediately. Throughout the years, the Californian artist has conquered graciously the neo-soul industry in her own way. After 3 albums and many collaborations, Victoria Monét is still impressing us. Her last opus called « Jaguar », out since August 2020, sounds like gold. Victoria Monét has directly set the tone with the first song which is « Moment », an intimate, silky and tender instant. From « Dive »to « We Might Even Be Falling In Love » or « Ass Like That » the singer is reaching a new potential of her art and musical world. « Jaguar » is clearly a blink to the 70’s and it has a particular Afrofuturism spirit. It goes from neo-soul to funk and even disco. It’s soft, erotic and astral, even that characterizes soul and r’n’b. The interludes alone perfectly connect the full songs, we can’t hear any disconnection at all. The album « Jaguar » has zero defaults.
So I strongly recommend you to listen to Victoria Monét‘s discography and to stream Jaguar.
ROSIE LOWE : « YU » ALBUM
Rosie Lowe‘s music is completely new to me and my ears. And discovering her feels more than refreshing. The British singer is living her print in a tricky and odd contemporary scene which reminds me a lot of BANKS‘s music. But Rosie Lowe‘s music has its own oneness, it’s a bucolic and fantastic world. Her atypical voice is floating on each sound of her album « YU », which came out in May 2019. The single « The Way » in collaboration with the talented producer and musician Jay Electronica, is a musical grace. Rosie Lowe clearly vogues on this abstract sound, almost electronic. It sounds like each sound of the project has to be analyzed before being combined and assimilated, like a science project or a puzzle. Each song has a different organic system. And it’s very pleasant to listen to them. 4 years after the release of her first album « Control » which was more dangerous and dark, « YU » reveals a new part of the singer. The album is more delicate and metaphysical. From the songs « Valium » to Royalty and « Mango », « YU » is a declaration about love and its delivering powers. And it’s finally an introspection. Rosie Lowe‘s musical world is clearly out of this world, just like her voice.
This is why you have to listen to Rosie Lowe‘s discography and her last project « YU ».
BECKY AND THE BIRDS : THE « TRASSLIG » ALBUM
Where do I start? Becky and the Birds‘ music is such a relief. Born Thea Gustafsson, the Swedish artist is bringing a new vibe and a new voice in this multipolar r’n’b industry. Her first album, simply called « Becky and the Birds » has created this solar bridge for the artist. But the release of her last EP « Trasslig »released on July 2020, has the impact of a star implosion. First, Becky and the Birds‘ voice is out of this world. It sounds like Mariah Carey and Kate Bush had a baby. Her voice is here to stay and conquer. And the « Trasslig » EP is showing the artist’s musical evolution. The song « Wondering » smells like Alice in Wonderland, it sounds like Spring and the theme is Venus and Eostre goddesses. Becky and the Birds‘ voice, notes and harmonies are mystical. Her voice is holy and the album cover was implicitly directing us to this conclusion. We can clearly hear the vocal techniques the artist possesses. « Trasslig » is an elegant project, short but complete. The « Paris » song is reaching a new musical corridor : it’s strange but comforting. Becky and the Birds’ music can first be uncomfortable because it’s the entire opposite to what we can hear nowadays. But the « Trasslig » EP is an ode to the stars, globally to the universe. It’s universal and accessible and it stills sophisticate.
Of course you have to stream Becky and the Birds’ music and projects, IMMEDIATELY.
PETER COTTONHALE : THE « CATCH » ALBUM
And to graciously close this article, let me introduce to you Peter CottonTale. You already know my attachment to the Late New School of Chicago which I wrote about in a long article. But Peter CottonTale’s music is closer to the other side like Chance The Rapper or Donnie Trumpet, this godly Chicago scene that has been blessing us for more than 6 years. « Catch » released in April 2020, is the first project of Peter CottonTale and what a project. This 17 songs album is all about love, unity and gospel. The musician and artist has reunited the cream of the cream : from Kirk Franklin to Jeremih or even Jamila Woods and more. But more importantly, it reunites wonderful gospel crews and artists as New Direction or Fred Hammond. It’s a Chicago celebration. Since the first song of the project » Do Your Thing » which is electrifying, the project is simply sublime. The music, the instruments, the voice, everything is alive and resonates. « Catch » is tall and shiny. The songs « Forever Always », « When I Get There » (with some serious 60’s vibes), « Hi 5 » (a celestial and bizarre anthem) and especially « Find You » will have your entire attention. It’s so pleasant to see artists who are still celebrating their faith or beliefs with such talent and bravery. I haven’t heard a project this inspiring and solar since « Coloring Book » (2016). But « Catch » goes beyond, it’s a revelation. And after those months of darkness and sadness the world has suffered, this project is one of the proofs that music can reach new levels and worlds. It’s a renaissance every time I listen.
And yes, you have to discover Peter CottonTale’s sumptuous songs and his first album. You will not regret it.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and I believe that by now those four artists are already in your playlists. Peace.
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