The 21-year-old just released her full-length debut album titled, Lost & Found. It feels like a soundtrack to a rainy day or even a coffee shop mixed tape. Smith’s voice is similar to fellow R&B angel, SZA along with hints of the late Amy Winehouse.
Her sultry single, “February 3rd” shows off her light and airy vocals; dreamy, often mysterious and full of layers. She sings effortlessly, “so why don’t you lose yourself for me?” The lyrics are romantically poetic in a way that makes you feel a bit tongue-tied until you process what they are actually saying. “February” sets the tone for the remainder of the album; a steady stream of more and more feelings.
Smith carries herself with such youthful poise. She spoke about her future hopes and dreams with Apple Music Beats 1, saying “My plan is to get a lot of people to listen to this music. Also, want to direct some of my videos and perform in bigger venues but make it intimate. Don’t know about this, not being able to leave places without loads of security. It’s weird.”
2017 was a strong year for R&B/pop. It feels like a new artist pops up every day, but these ones caught my ear and made me listen over and over. From groovy beats, saucy lyrics, and hypnotic basslines, I am HOOKED on R&B. Here are some of my favorite artists/songs from 2017.
New single, “Lose My Cool” takes on a couple different shapes. Mark’s deep voice slides above some jazzy piano chords as a slick intro makes you think “hmmm, this is cool” (pun intended) A tropical beat takes over, showing off the span of genres this track covers. Mark has a captivating voice that takes you to a somewhat higher place. Something we felt similarly on her 2016 single, “Monsoon (feat. Mia Mark)” as she honored her late mother, Mia. If you close your eyes you can feel an ocean breeze brush your hair past your face.
She describes her sound as, “a mix of alternative R&B mixed with a little tribal and topped off with a little soul.” Being a tri-artist herself (singer, songwriter, and producer), Mark is quickly making a loud presence in the music world. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.
Discography: Debut album; Trapsoul released Oct. 1 2015
If you’ve seen Kylie Jenner’s quick Snapchat vids of her lip-syncing lately, it’s probably to a Bryson Tiller song. I looked him up and fell in love. Hot damn, Tiller can SING.
He has perfected R&B with subtle rap and hip-hop elements making Trapsoul the perfect soundtrack to your love life. Each song is just as sultry as the next; keeping a mellow vibe. “So gimme all of you in exchange for me, just give me all of you in exchange for me, for me,” Tiller croons on “Exchange.” He blends poetic melodies with explicit rap content in a way that makes you appreciate rap as musical art. The swearing is subtle and adds a slight edge to his music.
Standout track, “Don’t” starts out with a spooky intro, then the bass kicks in as Tiller sweetly sings, “Don’t, don’t play with her don’t be dishonest.” The song talks about sweeping a girl off her feet and taking her away from the man who doesn’t treat her right. Ummmmm… yes please? Whether you’re enjoying a chill wine night at home or out on a fun date night, Bryson Tiller is the perfect sound.
Sometimes you just find music that completely speaks to you. That’s what it felt like when I found Ta-Ku. I was like ummmm, where have you been all my life? (stuffs chocolate and wine into my open mouth as I listen to Songs to Make Up To). It’s an eclectic mix that I’m sure only certain people are into but there’s one thing you can’t deny; it’s beauty. These are love songs and they are mind-blowingly good.
Ta-Ku is a musician from Perth, Australia. He started back in 2011 with an EP titled KT. His most recent album, Songs to Make Up To, serves almost as a sequel to Songs to Break Up To, which was released in 2013. When I heard these two, I thought it was the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. The songs truly live up to the title in the craziest ways. Both keeping an electronic/R&B based sound with incredible musicality. Songs to Break Up To, could almost be playing in the background as a couple fights about how they don’t make time for each other anymore, or how he’s never home for dinner, or she’s always late. The intense musical elements spark visuals in your brain, almost as if you could create your own music video just from listening.
Songs to Make Up To, is even more delightful to listen to. The song names are a true indication of what magic is about to happen: “Hopeful”, “Love Again”, “Trust Me”, “Long Time, No See”, “Sunrise/Beautiful”, “Fall4You”, “Work In Progress”, and “Down For You”. Every song makes you think of beautiful things in life and that’s how they make you feel too.
One thing that makes Ta-Ku different is that his style is unpredictable, a song can shift into something completely separate from what you just heard and it still cohesively fits together somehow; it’s incredible. “Love Again” (Feat. JMSN & Sango) is a clear masterpiece off this album. Repetitive piano chords, intoxicating vocals, and a clap beat dances in your brain making you want to make up with someone, ANYONE. The song, spanning over 5 minutes is borderline heavenly. Not to mention, the dope hip-hop drag at the end making it a true Ta-Ku song. Most songs are led with no or minimal vocals and it totally works, which is a skill in itself.
Check out this live performance of “Love Again”:
The truth is, I have too many good things to say about Ta-Ku and the way he’s building his music. It’s intricate, intoxicating, powerful, and immensely captivating. Something every artist should be trying to achieve. Touché to you Ta-Ku. Cheers to being a delicious musical force.