On Wednesday, September 14th, Amy Winehouse would have celebrated her 33rd birthday. Winehouse embodied the struggles of a tortured genius – brilliant, yet broken. Talented, yet overwhelmed. Her gift to music? Immeasurable. Heavily influenced by the Motown sound, Winehouse’s music put on display the longstanding connection between traditionally Black American music and Europe, from Rock and Roll to the Blues.
Winehouse’s music comes from a long line of British artists that have made contributions to the world of R&B and Soul music ranging from Joss Stone to Sade, Corinne Bailey Rae to Adele, but the list doesn’t stop there and continues to grow. Below are some younger artists that are making their imprint on music, reinterpreting genres like Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop and more for their selves.
Dornik: A couple of months ago a friend suggested that I listen to Dornik. In my friend's sales pitch he said something along the lines of this: "Imagine if Michael Jackson made a full length neo-soul album..." I thought that comparison was a stretch, but that's before I listened to him. After listening to him I was blown away, the dude's got some serious chops. Dornik, a drummer and singer born in London, released his first album Dornik in 2015. Dornik blends smooth synthesizers reminiscent of 80s R&B, with 808 snares. If you're reading this Dornik, you owe us, don't disappear.
You should listen to Dornik if you like: Michael Jackson, Prince, Janet Jackson
NAO: Trained as a jazz vocalist at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, NAO has made waves merging Jazz, Funk, and Electronic music. NAO released her first EP, So Good in 2014, bringing critical acclaim from the BBC as well as iTunes. While So Good garnered attention, and gave listeners a preview of her musical styling, vocal capabilities, and writing sensibilities, it’s got nothing on her most recent full-length album For All We Know – an album composed of funky bass lines, endless grooves, and smooth vocals.
You should listen to NAO if you like: Little Dragon, FKA Twigs
Tom Misch: A 21 year-old South Londoner that pitches himself as a guitarist, beatmaker, and singer. Misch blends boom-bap rhythmic syncopation that’ll catch the ear of a J Dilla fan, with the chord progressions that’ll please any Wes Montgomery fan. Misch’s recently released his 3rd EP, Reverie, and is in the process of recording his first full-length album.
You should listen to Tom Misch if you like: J Dilla, John Mayer, Erykah Badu, D’angelo
Laura Mvula: So, Laura Mvula isn’t technically from London (she’s from Birmingham) but she’s too good to not be included on this list. Trained as a classical vocalist, Mvula has strong R&B and Jazz sensibilities. Often accompanied by an orchestra on her albums, Mvula’s sound is rich in stacked vocal harmonies and progressive musical arrangements.
You should listen to Laura Mvula if you like: KING, Metropole Orkest
Stay tuned for this week's 🔌'n Play playlist on Sunday!