It feels like everyone is talking about Tems right now, which makes sense because wow, the consistency she has is something else. The Nigerian singer-songwriter’s voice is rich, versatile and distinctive and everything she touches musically seems to be turning to gold.
She put out her beguiling EP, If Orange Was A Place a couple weeks back, her London shows recently all sold out within minutes, and yesterday she did a sublime performance on Jimmy Kimmel. Her feature on Wizkid’s humid, deeply-in-your-feelings banger ‘Essence’ ended up as one of the songs of this summer (to the point where it then got a remix with a frankly unnecessary additional guest feature from Justin Bieber, but I digress). Plus, you know, she got the Dr*ke co-sign and featured on Certified Lover Boy, which I would personally argue is less important than her being among our ones to watch for 2021, but is still admittedly noteworthy in terms of her domination lately.
Basically I am pressed for time so cannot wax too lyrical, but this is just a brief note to say: if you have somehow missed Tems up until now, you need to rectify that at once. She is the moment!
And now, onto some new releases.
Ray BLK – Access Denied
Our girl Ray BLK is finally giving us her debut album (I guess Durt and Empress were ‘projects’?). In any case, it’s worth the wait: more slick and pop-leaning than before, these are songs for low-lit dance floors and channelling real grown and sexy energy.
Tirzah – Colourgrade
There is intimacy and then there’s the music of Tirzah Mastin. On her second album, she lays bare a whispered lyrical diary of sorts, and – in collaboration with Mica Levi and Coby Sey – things here are all strange, wobbly, iridescent, jarring and beautiful.
Cktrl ft. Mereba – ‘Zero’
A tender, skittering return from producer and multi-instrumentalist Cktrl, whose soundscapes meld seamlessly with Mereba’s light, cascading vocals to create gently vibe-y magic.
Hana Vu – ‘Keeper’
Ahead of her new album, which lands in a month, the emerging LA singer-songwriter has dropped this lush and airy slice of synthpop. With beats that make you want to run up that hill, captivating self-production and smooth vocals, ‘Keeper’ definitely feels like a promising taste of what’s to come.
Kali Uchis ft. SZA – ‘fue mejor’
Kali Uchis and SZA singing soft and serene in Spanish? Do I need to explain why this is special?! This is, like, the audio equivalent of silk sheets or something equally sultry and delicate. Gorgeous.