neo-soul

RELEASE RADAR: NABI AIR - 'FLAVORLESS'

Nabi Air are a producer and singer duo consisting of Yoonha and Deric. Their latest release, “FLAVORLESS” is a smooth and dreamy track, featuring a wave of indie electro-pop sounds. It combes smooth electronic production and sultry vocals which draws listeners in an electrifying yet sentimental atmosphere.

Their music takes influences from their diverse tastes across the musical spectrum including electronica, downtempo, contemporary R&B, and hip hop. In the pursuit of their musical vision, Nabi Air hopes to act as a point of contact that bridges diverse genres, cultures, perspectives, and experiences.

 
 

RELEASE RADAR: OSCAR JEROME - ‘GRAVITATE’

Fresh off the back of a run of UK dates supporting Kamasi Washington and an Annie Mac Presents show with IAMDDB at Jazz Cafe, Oscar Jerome is today sharing his latest single ‘Gravitate’ – the South London artist’s first release since signing to Caroline International – as well as news of a lengthy European tour later this year that will culminate in his biggest headliner to date at London’s Heaven. Taking inspiration from the sounds of British broken beat and featuring Joe Armon-Jones on piano and several of his fellow band-members in afrobeat ensemble Kokoroko, ‘Gravitate’ arrives alongside a video of Oscar and his current band of collaborators performing the track live in the studio. You can check out the video, directed by CHILD, here.

The new single and accompanying video see Oscar Jerome at his best, his Trinity Laban Conservatoire training shining through in a way that's usually reserved for his exuberant, all-out live show. In the track Oscar delivers his jangly, shimmering guitar against a sun-soaked backdrop of jazzy keys, lush vocal harmonies and a gloriously polyrhythmic percussion section that drives the track from start to finish. Oscar says of the track: “This pays homage to a lot of the pioneers of the British broken beats genre as well as a lot of my soul, jazz and rock influences. The subject matter is both cosmic and personal. I reference a lot of imagery of the early life of a star in space as well as ideas of individuality and self-acceptance.

Shouting out his collaborators and discussing the origin of ‘Gravitate’, Oscar says: “This is a tune I started writing with beat maker Ben Hauke which slowly worked its way into a much more live sounding piece after we experimented with it a lot on stage with the band and producer Beni Giles got involved. Special mention to Ayo Salawu [Kokoroko] for playing that drum beat so good! It also features Joe Armon-Jones [Ezra Collective] on piano, Crispin Spry on percussion, as well as George Riley, Sheila Maurice-Grey [Kokoroko] and Richie Seivwright [Kokoroko] on vocals.”

It’s been quite the few years for Oscar Jerome; through a steady release of singles and EPs he’s gone on to clock up considerable airtime and playlisting from the likes of 6 Music, Radio 1 and 1Xtra and become something of a mainstay of the London jazz scene, collaborating with peers in Ezra Collective, Sons of Kemet and Binker & Moses and consistently playing to sold-out crowds across the capital, including at such venues as Corsica Studios, Ghost Notes, Village Underground and most-recently EartH. On top of that he’s been busy taking to stages across the rest of the UK, Europe and the US too. With the Kamasi Washington tour behind him and a 15-date EU tour in his sights – as well as with the recent signing to Caroline International, who all but signed him on the spot after catching him play at this year’s SXSW – it’s clear that Oscar is only just getting started.

 
 

PICK OF THE WEEK: JAEL

JAEL is a singer-songwriter and UK-based wordsmith with a soulful voice amongst jazzy and Afro-beat instrumentation. Her music is a mixture of soft and upbeat, intertwined with a clear and soothing voice which makes Jael an artist suited as 'anytime music'.

Here is a snippet of her performing a version of Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love’ which played at the We Welcome Party back in March earlier this year.

Jael can also be found featuring on Boadi’s track, ‘Grow’ which is well worth a listen. 

Her debut EP ‘ODYSSEY’ will be out on all platform in the coming days! For more, follow JAEL at @jaelthevoice.

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLEO SOL - 'WHY DON'T YOU'

Having experienced some success in the music industry as a teen, West London soul singer Cleo Sol returns from her hiatus with a newfound maturity which shines through her comeback track "Why Don't You", proving to us that her time is, without a doubt, now.

Beautifully crafted and flawlessly executed, "Why Don't You" introduces the listener to an ultimate chill vibe the second the first drum beats. The instrumentation unfolds to become nothing short of an orchestrated masterpiece, with the introduction of a sweet and almost eerie string sound that soothes while it chills.

Cleo's lyrics are beautifully downbeat and painfully real, softened by some sweet harmonies dancing in the background. The mood is lifted a little into the second half of the track when she picks up the pace and educates us with her words-

"So I try every day and I grow a little bit

Read a little more so I can educate my fears

Reap for my soul and cleanse my spirit

Pray cus I'm ready for the bloom of the sea

Peace and serenity is all that I need"

A track packed with life lessons and the rawest of honesty, "Why Don't You” is tangible proof of Cleo Sol's growth as a credible artist. Every single listen provokes a heartfelt experience which stays with us after the final beats have faded away.

 

Written by Aoife Chaney

ONE TO WATCH: RAVEENA

All the way from New York and drifting innocently over our ‘one to watch’ is RnB singer-songwriter, Raveena. With a sweet sound that is as sensual as it is tender, the Indian-born beauty is picking up momentum in the contemporary soul style that we love so wildly here at Oíche.

Raveena's style portrays an outward expression of inward reflection, with lyrics that are deep-rooted and based on past experience. Every track is a story - an intriguing narrative to the artists own little universe as told so sweetly by soft vocals, backed gently by 90's inspired baselines. With a warm and soothing delivery, we are forced into an almost dreamlike state, a fantasy land, a musical trance.

A perfect example of this dreamy and ultra-chill vibe which is so prominent throughout her style can be found in her latest release, 'I Won't Mind'. With lyrics that speak softly of "freeing your mind" and "moonlight glow" and "California dream house on the coast" - all intertwined with an almost church organ-esque piano - we sail away into a daydream from which we seek no escape.

After all, music is just that - an escape. Raveena's silky smooth sounds provide an escape from the rush of everyday noise into pure, uninterrupted transcendence. And with much more to come from her if our 'one to watch' is anything to go by, we could get very comfortable here in the peaceful bliss.

 

Written by Aoife Chaney

ONE TO WATCH: IYAMAH

Here at Oíche, we love all things soul, embracing the traditional genre as well as it's worthy & diversified counterpart - neo-soul. After a successful tour with her neo-soulsister Mahalia, Brighton beauty IYAMAH is unleashing her fiery soulful RnB vibes all over our "one to watch" radar.

Evident in her style is an artistic background, encouraged by a creative upbringing and influenced by empowering female artists like Alicia Keys and Erykah Badu. Unique to what we have witnessed so far from Iyamah is her ability to simplify the complex, to strip back the lyrics to create meaning and to let them shine brightly over a clean and tidy backing track. A delivery that is minimalist, with a result that is anything but.

In her debut single 'Cryptic Love', the London-based songstress exposes herself as a fool in love but a warrior in heartbreak, and the result is a powerful new-age love ballad that is both an instant hit and a sign of what's to come. As credible as a gentle pianist as she is a topline Drum n' Bass writer, Iyamah's silky smooth vocals paired with her rhythmic melodies leave us not only certain of but tickled with excitement about the future of soul music.

Written by Aoife Chaney

PICK OF THE WEEK: MAHALIA - 'SOBER'

Oíche's 'pick of the week' & just in time to get us buzzing for her Grand Social headline show tonight, is SOBER by Birmingham artist, MAHALIA.

'Sober' is both empowering & vulnerable, with a little bit of heartbreak and a lot of "fuck you". Mahalia's psycho-acoustic sound envelopes her audience in a soulful embrace, and we find a pattern in her music where she so often speaks a universal language that is clear and transparent with honesty.

Mahalia invites us in with soothing vocals, powered by a groove-fuelled baseline & boom-bap beats. She channels her inner Lauryn Hill with an Amy Winehouse-esque flow and a deliverance that is uniquely her own. Mahalia has created a girl-power track that becomes in itself the very love hangover cure she has been searching for.

Written by Aoife Chaney