A Glimpse of Silk Sonic

Bruno Mars and Anderson. Paak gave the masses a taste of what’s to come and increased anticipation for the duo’s joint-album with the record “Leave The Door Open“. The news of their collaboration late last month was exhilarating. Bruno Mars had that run a few years back (2012-2016), where every record he dropped was elite. A run that propelled him into superstardom, so much so for him to perform in the Super Bowl L Half-Time Show, alongside Beyoncé and Coldplay

Bruno Mars has shown us, time and time again, that he has a knack for creating great music. His last album, 24K Magic, was instrumental in his journey to performing on the Half-Time show. But, that isn’t the only thing, his presence; Bruno Mars is a natural-born performer. Something tells me that the records “24k Magic“, “That’s What I Like“, and “Versace on The Floor” wouldn’t have been as successful had someone else performed them. 

He emits a feel-good vibe that sits well with me and generally makes him more likeable. It’s been a real journey since the days of “Grenade“. 

Anderson. Paak hasn’t performed in front of millions alongside names such as Beyoncé at a half-time show. However, his musical genius is on par, some may argue better than Bruno Mars’. The fact that they are both incredible artists in their own right makes the duo such an exciting concept. A comparison would be if Tesla and Amazon came together to create a driverless delivery service for Amazon prime subscribers. Two giants, coming together to create something great.

The average listener will be able to see the similarities between the pair. Not only in music but personality also. 

Paak’s last album was an 11-track project called “Ventura” (2019) with features like Andre 3000Jazmine SullivanBrandy and Nate Dogg. It should go without saying the calibre of music that he has made and is making. But other than that, Califorian-born artist is also a credible record producer and multi-instrumentalist. He has released an instrumental-only version of his last two albums (Ventura and Oxnard) it gives the listener a chance to focus on and digest the combination of instruments, the mastering and general hard work that goes into making the music that so many of us love.

Separately, both men are specular, so together they should be even better right?

Leave The Door Open,” says YES. It sounded a lot how I envisioned music by the pair to sound. Silky smooth, reminiscent of the Isley Brothers‘ “Summer Breeze” or The Temptations‘ “Treat Her Like a Lady“. I’m a sucker for Motown-era influenced music, so the track sits incredibly well with me. I love it. Sometimes, simplicity (or even the illusion of it) is necessary for excellence.

It feels like this song was created in one take, not to say that it comes across rushed or unfinished. On the contrary, it tells me that making great music is second-nature for these men, and they are only getting started.

I’m really looking forward to the album.

-Dez

The song for today is: Leave the Door Open Silk Sonic

Who Is Joyce Wrice?

Joyce Wrice is a name I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot lately. Whether that be on music podcasts, the radio on Apple Music, or on my social media timelines. The algorithms have been hard at work because she has been on my screen frequently, and rightly so, she’s pretty amazing.

But who is she? And why did it take me so long to be acquainted, the quality of her music, spanning back as early as 2016 with her EP “Stay Around” makes me wonder. She isn’t a veteran, but 5+ years is a long time in the music industry. A deeper look into her as a person, her temperament instantly showed me why it took me so long to discover her music. Till, I would follow the noise, She prefers to be reserved and let her art do the talking. Similar to Moroccan artist Anfa Rose.

Born in San Diego, USA, to a Japanese mother and African-American father. Joyce is an only child. She moved from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2016, the same year her EP dropped. From conversations with people more familiar with the singer, she is considered a powerhouse on stage and in RnB as a whole. Comments I have no quarrel with or find hard to believe, her music speaks for itself.

Appearances aren’t important when it comes to music (not to me anyway) but, let’s not take anything away from the fact that Joyce is a beautiful woman. Standing at around 162cm (5’4), she’s petite (most likely the Japanese genes).

With her Japanese heritage, it was no surprise that Joyce is a lover of karaoke.

“I use to beg my mom to take me to Sam Goody to buy maxi singles because they had the instrumental or acapella versions I could karaoke to”.

-Joyce Wrice

Coming from humble beginnings has enabled Joyce to hone her skills and add real purpose to her work. It’s clear that making music has always been a desire and/or passion of hers. Parents are the first role models that a child has and it seems that the interests of her parents are the foundations of her music career.

“Being an only child, I had to find ways to entertain myself. I instantly gravitated towards music, my parents listen to a lot of Soul and RnB”

-Joyce Wrice

She has a smooth and strong voice, an excellent match for the genre she finds herself in. When I listen to her, I hear similarities between herself, Jhene Aiko and Aaliyah. Joyce mentioned that she used her love of karaoke to study the voices of some of the greatest singers to ever live… and it shows.

“I could be Whitney, I could be Tamia, I could be Mariah. I could hear the acappella and really understand the runs and then sing over the instrumental and do my own version”

-Joyce Wrice

Doubling back to the fact that many believe her to be a powerhouse, Joyce Wrice has collaborated with a handful of renowned names in the music industry. Wale, SiR, Westside Gunn and more recently Lucky Daye and Freddie Gibbs.

With Joyce’s debut album “Overgrown” set to drop on March 19th, I’m eager to see (and hear) how well the album will fare in terms of sales and impact. The singles that have already been released are brilliant, so it encourages me to believe that the album will follow suit. 

I’ll be back to write another piece on the San Diego songstress if all things go well, that’s for sure.

-Dez

The song for today is: Blurred Lines – Joyce Wrice

Is The “Deluxe” A Filler?

Musicians and artists have been re-packaging already released albums, adding a handful of “B-Side” records at the end, slapping “deluxe” on it and calling it a day for as long as I can remember. To compare this sort of behaviour, it would be like Apple Inc. releasing the same phone with subtle changes and calling it something new… wait, that IS what Apple do…

Regardless, Apple still generates sales, and every year we eagerly await the next instalment to the line. Although technology and music are closer in this day and age than it has ever been before, they are still very different industries. So albeit I may be tolerant of the shenanigans of technological giants Apple. That doesn’t mean I share the same sentiment towards music and artists.

As a consumer, I will naturally want more of that which I consume. The concept is the same across all industries. My demand for more is usually at the expense of the artist. I disregard the fact that they are also human beings and should be allowed to live their lives like everyone else. The grace period between the release of a new project and my desire for another one is somewhat quick.

Clearly, there isn’t much I can do in making an artist release music and, when you are forced to wait, all you can do is wait. However, when deluxe editions are released, it always comes across as lazy to me. I see them as a filler, a strategy an artist uses to buy themselves more time. Similar to how you’d distract a dog with some meat or a bone so you can get back to what you were doing without having them on your case.

In some cases, the deluxe is released simultaneously with the standard edition. A practice that has been popular since the ’00s, the most notable example of this for me is Drake‘s NWTS (Nothing Was The Same)

It has always made me wonder why the “extra content” was separate, why does it have to be “extra”. When the bodies of work are realised on the same day, it makes it all the more confusing. I was less inclined to question such methods before the era of streaming, deluxe editions are sold for more than it’s standard edition counterparts.

However, now that the average listener streams instead of buying, I don’t see any point in doing it. It’s like a cashier giving you half of your groceries at checkout and saying another cashier will give you the other half. It’s unnecessary and inconvenient.

Give me my groceries together, please

It has led me to believe that deluxe editions are purely strategic, a plan of action implemented to boost sales and exposure, alongside what I mentioned earlier regarding buying more time. I admit I’m guilty of eating my cake and wanting to have it. I’m stuck between two minds, I demand new content, but I don’t want it in the shape of a deluxe. I’ve already ingested the story, vibe and composition the artist presented to me in the album. I want something new, something original. I mean, how would you feel about being offered the same meal again after already eating it.

This was my quarrel with Blxst (ha, he doesn’t know I exist) and his decision to divide his project “No Love Lost” in two when the standard edition was only 8 tracks long. He could’ve easily created a single body of work with the songs from the standard and deluxe edition combined. But I guess he had a close-up he was so desperate to share with the world and needed a reason to do so (I’m being facetious)

I’m not sure whether my annoyance with this concept is significant or not. Do I have a valid point, or am I being a Moody Margaret? Nevertheless, I vote for the abolishment of deluxe editions.

What do you think?

-Dez

The song for today is: EPMD – Nas