The visibility of incredible talent in the UK RnB scene has long been a topic of discussion.
It is even more so now as British led RnB continues to enjoy a well-deserved resurgence. So what better time than now to celebrate just a few of the names that have helped the surge in appeal to the genre.
I start off my list with the sublime Jaz Karis, who’s smooth as molasses vocals first came to my attention as she sang ‘Sugar Don’t be Sweet’ – a standout track on her debut EP Into the Wilderness which was well received when released in 2017. Since then Jaz has consistently put out music capturing so many emotions from the shyness & uncertainty that comes with a new love interest to the feeling of security in your worth that allows you to soar. She’s continuing to develop her sound as seen on new track ‘Soweto Blues’ which fuses RnB with the increasingly popular Amapiano. With her career progress so far it looks like things will only get better musically with Jaz.
I could not write this article without mentioning South London’s Tiana Blake who’s single ‘Cut Ties’ has been heavy in my rotation for over 2 months now. With a sultry yet sweet sound, Tiana is RnB to the core. Tiana has perfected fusing 90s RnB style with timeless melodies and riffs you can’t help but belt out once you learn the lyrics. Tiana, if you are reading this, the streets are ready for more and we cannot wait for future gigs where we can sing along with you about how much we are done with Mondays because honestly, who isn’t.
Up next is the incredibly skilled vocalist, J Warner, albeit not a newcomer on the scene he is nonetheless a great one to continue to watch. With his ability to deliver soul felt runs and melodies accompanied by relatable, vivid lyrics, J Warner continues to show himself as an all rounder as an artist. This is most evident on tracks such like ‘Shared Xperience’ & ‘Stay for a While’. His most recent EP Figure 8 is a solid reminder as to why regardless of how long he’s been on the scene, he is rightfully one to pay attention to.
“You’re now rocking with the best, boy don’t you leave me on read” sings upcoming artist Mnelia as she confidently sings on a punchy R&B beat displaying her vocal prowess. ‘Say Yeah’ continues to gain well deserved traction despite having been out for a little while now. For those of you that can’t get enough of her and want more music, you will have to check out 2:4 her 2018 EP which is a fantastic contribution to the scene.
Last but by no means least, is the possessor of a delicate yet soulful tone, Amber Olivier. She first came to my attention with her self titled EP released in 2018, which boasts songs such as ‘Come to Me’ – a track which exudes a smouldering energy and is beautifully contrasted by the vulnerability shown on ‘One Unread’. Through her music, she effortlessly displays why she’s a vital part of our music scene as well as why she has co-signs from the likes of Brent Faiyaz.
I for one love this period and the space UK RnB is currently occupying. The artists mentioned above and so many more, have gifted the scene with projects that are authentically RnB. They’ve given us something that is reflective of its origin yet simultaneously infused with UK culture by way of enunciation & cultural references. UK RnB is a testament to the beauty that is created when we do our thing because we do it so beautifully, don’t you agree?
Words by: Dammy Dixon (@OloriDixon on Twitter, @Namasteinyourlane on Instagram)