Up and coming British R&B-soul artist, singer, and songwriter KEMI SULOLA is back with a glorious new single titled ‘IF’ as she continues to tease towards her anticipated new projects such as Room 3 coming next year. ‘IF’, which is produced by Brighton musician, DJ and producer El Train, who has worked with Pip Millet, Barney The Artist, IYAMAH and Jerome Thomas, among others, sees Kemi Sulola delivering an infectious UK R&B masterclass with catchy pop sensibilities and honest relatable songwriting, which also pays homage to the golden era of 90’s R&B with its lush melodies and vocal harmonies.
Speaking about the inspiration behind her new single ‘IF’, Kemi Sulola says, “The song is about a lady who is usually very sure of herself except for when it comes to love. To me, ‘IF’ is a song that speaks for people who may feel insecure about their lover or ultimately themselves. It questions if the one we need to be there for us in our hardest times would really be there. I suppose it was written in reflection of a time when I was in need and wondered the same. Essentially without saying the word, ‘IF’ inspires me to think about love and what the true meaning of it is”.
In the middle of a lengthy battle with Neurosarcoidosis that has seen her in and out of hospital for years, Kemi Sulola released ‘Raindrops’ at the start of 2020 to rave reviews from the likes of GUAP Magazine, SoulTracks and Verve Radio, after which, she also opened for R&B legend Teedra Moses at the renowned jazz club Hideaway. Bolstered by pop icon Janet Jackson sharing her music on Instagram and imploring her to keep singing, Kemi then followed up with the protest song ‘Justice’ in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and to raise money for the Black Learning Achievement and Mental Health Charity (BLAM UK), before closing out the year with the undeniable ‘New Form’ that was championed by DJ Target at BBC 1Xtra.
Check out the lyric video for Kemi’s single below…
I have to confess…CILLA RAIE has got to be one of my top three favourite singers right now. Her latest EP‘Reconnected’ has definitely got me jumping out my seat, so it’s an absolute pleasure to catch up with the North Londoner to talk about her six-track set.
NLM: Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. How is 2021 treating you so far?
CR: Thank you for having me. 2021 has been the best year for me so far career wise. I have been extremely busier than ever and so much has happened in a short space of time from having backing from Arts England/National Lottery which enabled me to release two singles ‘Motives’ and ‘Open for Love’ Ft Tiffany Evans. Including my debut EP ‘Reconnected’. I’ve now just gotten support from Help Musicians/MOBO to put together another project, so its been up and onwards from the start of the year.
NLM: You released your EP, ‘Reconnected back in August. What is the public perception on the project so far?
CR: Honestly the reception has been AMAZING! the EP reached number 2 on the UK R&B/Soul Albums chart on Itunes just behind Amy Winehouse’s album and before The Weekend’s album. Never ever in a million years did I think I could achieve that. We did something special for it and sent out gift packs to everyone who has supported. All the tastemakers at BBC 1xtra, BBC Radio London, MTV, Wonderland, Earmilk, Trace Urban etc all showed love. Most importantly I have an amazing fan base who are constantly streaming, sharing, posting, showing love. I feel blessed.
NLM: How would you describe the EP’s sound to potential fans?
CR: The sound of the EP is nostalgic late 90’s/early 2000’s era, I wanted to bring back that old school feel as far as the production went. That era of music was and still is one of my favourite eras so I wanted to bring that element back within UK R&B and just vibe out.
NLM: What inspired you to produce the EP?
CR: The EP was actually a long time in the making, I had taken a break for 2 years when I had my child in 2017, before this I was actually in the studio 24/7 making the new EP. I created a journey of events that happened before, during and after that period of time. I wanted to convey those series of events on ‘Reconnected’ hence why I named the EP this, as it represents being reconnected back to my passion of music, after being away for so long and loosing all hope. Once Arts England/National Lottery stepped in I knew it was the perfect time to put everything together as I has the freedom to do so.
NLM: What is/are your favourite single(s) from the EP and why?
CR: U & I ft Subten is my favourite song, at the moment on the EP. I am literally always changing my mind depending on the mood and season. But I love everything melodic about the song, the harmonies, the rhythmic changes, the switch up on Subtens verse. Again it’s another throwback feel track that makes you feel good.
NLM: What message would you like the listeners to take away from your EP?
CR: The message I want listeners to take away is that, no matter how disconnected you may feel at points in your life. Always remember everything is temporary and you can always ignite the flame back to your true self and your desires.
NLM: If you had to feature one mainstream artist on the EP, who would it be and why?
CR: One mainstream artist I really want to work with and who I have grown to love over this past year is Shenseea. I truly admire here and she is so versatile so I would have her on the EP to bring in her flavours. I love seeing female artists working together too and just breaking barriers. I worked with Tiffany so working with another female artist would be great and to crossover into another market too.
NLM: Do you have other project(s) for 2021?
CR: Now that I have just released my project in August, I am currently actively preparing for my 2022 EP. I have an amazing single that I’m planning the creative process for and it will most likely be out in Jan/Feb. So my main focus for the rest of the year is just completing this project and recording the rest of the songs.
Finally, any special shout outs to those involved in the production of ‘Reconnected’?
CR: There’s so many people involved in this project that I would like to shoutout. All the producers Peddy Pro, XVR Blck who spent hours mixing and recording with me, Serk Lelabo, Walter Ego, Joey Dyer. The artists Subten and Tiffany Evans. Those involved with the singles from the EP and the EP itself, Liberty Music, Wardah, Now Listen, Exkluse Media, Supreme Runners, Kofi at Yellow Fish. The list goes on thank you all SO much for making this a dream come true.
Check Out Cilla Raie’s EP, ‘Reconnected’ right HERE
After recent success with her singles ‘JME’ and ‘Call Up’ which garnered wide spread support across Rinse FM, Radio 1 and BBC Radio London and landed her a performance on the Amazon Music +44 Takeover Show alongside Meridian Dan, JME, C Cane and President T, ARIEZ BABY follows up with jumpy, saucy and extremely well executed new single, ‘Bad B’.
Produced by trending drill legend SVOnTheBeat, the cheeky, up-beat track focuses on girls who are unapologetically themselves. Music is Ariez’ passion – and choosing the path of music has been no easy road, but hard work is paying off and Ariez is making a name for herself in the industry. ‘BAD B’ is the next vital step Ariez is taking to become Drill royalty, and take the scene by a storm.
Hailing from SW London, Ariez is already well known in her scene at the age of just 24. She is a melodic drill/hip-hop artist, with lyricism that is real and unapologetic while showing her great sense of humour and intelligence. She is well aware that she is distinct, and unique from the rest of the talent. Ariez is currently being developed by independent label and studio 1010LDN and will be supporting Dappy on his upcoming tour in November.
With tastemaker sites such as Complex, Clash and Line of Best Fit all shouting about previous releases and picking up support across BBC 1Xtra and BBC Introducing, Hackney born singer songwriter J APPIAH returns with ‘Breathe’, out today (October 15th) via his own label 19fifty7.
Already staking out his corner of the industry as a highly sought-after vocalist working with the likes of Jess Glynne, Madonna, Michael Kiwanuka, Footsie and Stormzy, J Appiah continues on his genre-defying path, proving himself as a musician in his own right. Genre hopping, and constantly remaking himself artistically, all his work is the sense of an artist true to himself and his feelings. Melancholic and stoic in tone and inspired by an eclectic range of artists, from Bill Withers to Blur, Grime to Soul, Appiah’s music conveys to us what it is to feel alive and human in the world.
Eerie beautiful strings foreshadow the dark bass hook, ‘Breathe’ is minimalist – claustrophobic even – but driven along by its fierce tunnelling groove. J’s stacked vocals give the song much of its atmosphere, recalling the playful vocal production style of Kanye West’s work in its demonstration that the best instrument is the human voice. Lyrically, ‘Breathe’ outlines the struggle not to not fragment under the multitude of stresses that life brings. Through its slick writing and the raw emotiveness of J’s performance, ‘Breathe’ is Appiah pushing his singer/songwriter skillset.
Ever more timely at this stage in the pandemic, a track we can all find a connection too – a reminder to take a minute and Breathe. Check it out below…
North London’s multi-instrumentalist RAY ALEX, explores themes of telepathy, lust and psychedelics in sensual single ‘Synchronise To Your Rhythm’.
Having been named in Audiomack’s ‘Best of Britain’ list two months running, and after collaborating with Julia Romana (Duckwrth/GLAM) and LA’s Sydney Jane, who has turned the heads of Disclosure and MJ Cole, Ray continues to push boundaries in UK R&B.
‘Synchronise To Your Rhythm’ details a sultry evening on a psychedelic journey with a lover in Rotterdam, drawing influences from the early 80s and early 90s funk with a modern, jazzy R&B feel. Ray Alex presents a hazy vignette packed with chopped up guitar samples, a neck-jarring beat and a chilling, wispy falsetto that unravels memories of a long distance spiritual connection magnetised by telepathic dreams, LSD and lust.
Ray’s smooth offering follows his previous single ‘Erased’ which received frequent airplay on Soho Radio and Amazing Radio and was featured on Clash Magazine, First World Records and Souletiquette playlists.
‘Synchronise To Your Rhythm’ is the second release from Ray’s self-produced EP, ‘Good To Me’, slated for release in November…but for now wrap your ears around this beauty…