FFO: SZA, Ella Mai, Jorja Smith, H.E.R
Rating: 9.5/10 (yes, seriously- it’s that good)
R&B is such a treasure-trove of a genre recently, and here at Urban Radar we have seen a massive influx of talented R&B acts, particularly from right here in the UK. More established acts such as Jorja Smith, H.E.R and of course, Ella Mai have been making waves on both sides of the Atlantic, while we’ve seen some stunning underground and emerging talent in the second half of 2018. Just take a browse of our reviews and features pages and see for yourself!
So please, understand that, given the sheer quality of the submissions we receive, Urban Radar has very high standards when it comes to R&B. And with that, we’d like to introduce the R&B project that we are tipping for absolutely HUGE things in the new year: YLD and their upcoming album ‘YLD is wild’.
YLD is the latest project from renowned producer Geoff Wilkinson, who our older readers may remember from the seminal jazz/hip-hop fusion band Us3, who had a top ten worldwide hit with ‘Cantaloop’. His new project marks a pretty big departure from the realms of jazz hip-hop, however: ‘YLD is wild’ is instead pure R&B slickness.
Teaming up with five exceptionally talented female vocalists, fresh from the UK and US underground, the album showcases their extraordinary talent while also displaying Geoff’s polished yet innovative production skills.
Each of the singers bring something very different to the record: Lisii Fontaine brings a chilled-out and mellow west-coast vibe in ‘Running Back To You’ whereas Robin May brings a London-smoothness in tracks like ‘Fools In Flight’ and ‘Unstoppable’. Courtney Bennett is blessed with a voice that is reminiscent of the power and depth of Aretha Franklin, or more contemporarily H.E.R and Kelly is just a flat-out soul queen on ‘Crush On You’.
While the bulk of the album could be accurately described as straight-up R&B there is still a touch of his famous innovation, adding dashes of afrobeats, soul and even a touch of jazz in the brass accompaniments to the lead track, a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Give Me Your Love’. The sound feels very ‘current’ and we can’t imagined a better time to release such an accomplished R&B album, especially as UK audiences are more receptive to such projects than ever before.
Be sure to look out for the release in the new year because we’re predicting (and let’s be honest, we consider ourselves experts) that YLD are going to be as big as acts such as SZA and Ella Mai.