Not being familiar with Kelela is the equivalent of not knowing that Starbucks offers free Wi-Fi with every cup of caffeinated goodness. If there lies any lack of awareness of the R&B singer or her debut mixtape Cut 4 Me released this past October, then here is where we’ll fix that and reaffirm my need for more Kelela.
Generating a heavy fan base laden with nods of approval from powerhouse industry mavens including Beyoncé, Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon, and producer Oddisee, the DC born and first-generation Ethiopian American songstress released her mixtape through LA label Fade to Mind. Kelela began her journey as a jazz vocalist, band member, songwriter and a frequent fixture at local music showcases. She shifted her focus in a few years’ time to pursue a solo R&B career and crafted Cut 4 Me, a musical arrangement that forces listeners to explore the intrinsic layers of emotion experienced in love and loss through relationships.
Designed to keep listeners needing more music, not one song fully encompasses the singer’s talent. In other words, listening to Kelela is like eating hors d’oeuvres made with common food staples and then wanting family sized portions of the creative bites. The album doesn’t work in parts and so, each track being necessary for the next, the experience comes off as spectrally excellent when it is wholly solid. Kelela’s voice as guide, the fluidity of Cut 4 Me chauffeurs listeners comfortably through their reflective interpersonal journeys while they hear the loc’d beauty sound off on her own.
Packed with emotion the album forces listeners to trust in the Kelela experience with tracks like “Bank Head,” “Cherry Coffee” and “Cut 4 Me.” With solid syncopated production and a host of playful chords, the smooth conceit-riddled lyrics inspired by the uniqueness of Kelela’s delivery on Cut 4 Me are a tease. In total, Kelela’s music has generated well over a million plays and shares via Soundcloud and YouTube. I hope to hear more well-packaged earfuls of R&B goodness from the eclectic hopeful this Fall. #Kelela2014
Listen to Cut 4 Me here. I dare you to tell us you don’t want more. Leave a comment and share which tracks are your favorite!