over the last few years, my ear has been floating westward. it started with j*davey and sa-ra creative partners and now my ipod has nothing but odd future (all 10,000 members and affiliates), overdoz, and iman omari on constant loop. the sound is an updated nod to the neo-soul era of the early 2000s. there is a major focus in instrumentation and the soul/funk references are clear. it’s obvious that these kids have really done their musical homework. another artist that will be sure to make her mark on the cali vibe is siaira shawn.
i first heard about her through a friend and was automatically plugged in after seeing this vid from 2011. this obviously led to a solid two hours watching all of her vids and weeping to her voice. it is the perfect blend my two fave female vocals; the rich, smoky molasses tone a la Brandy/Anita Baker/Jazmine Sullivan and what i call the “bird voice” created by Shirley Murdoch, perfected by Coko and Lil Mo. i also have a soft spot for any singer that writes all of their own music. fast forward to last week, siaira’s new ep “ghost” drops.
once the link hit the internet, i played it just for a casual listen. “fool” started and i was frozen. i had to stop what i was doing and devote the next hour or so to the ep. siaira’s voice is perfect as always. the vocal arrangement is intricate, but not overdone which is something hard to control in this digital age. the end of “staring into the sun” is the perfect example of this. the lyrics are stellar, with title track “ghost” being one of the most well-written songs i’ve heard this year. siaira vacillates between love-draped to utter vulnerability to strong defiance, but every song flows into the next without any breaks in vibe.
i see that the internet is still yelling that r&b is dead, but siaira shawn may be its savior. listen to “ghost” above and be sure to purchase it here.
*editor’s note – check this other vintage video. i don’t even wanna tell you guys how many times i watched one particular run.