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Five on it: Tems is the moment

Everyone is talking about Tems right now, with good reason. Plus new music from Ray BLK, Tirzah, Hana Vu, Cktrl ft. Mereba, and Kali Uchis ft. SZA.

01 Oct 2021

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.