Kelela, a second generation Ethiopian-American, stealthily asserted her way on the music scene in 2013. I remember getting hip to her music around 2014 while scouring Spotify’s many playlists for new deep cuts to add to my ever growing playlist. Kelela’s musical roots are influenced by the styles of popular UK genres including grime, house, R&B, and hip-hop. After finishing high school and college, Kelela moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career as an artist. In 2013 she connected with Prince William from the record label, Fade to Mind and the rest was history. Not even half a year later, Kelela released her first mixtape, Cut For Me in October after contributing vocals to Kingdom’s “Bank Head”.
Fans and music critics alike can agree that Kelela’s rise to notoriety is nothing short of amazing. The release of Cut For Me in 2013 ushered in a signature sound in R&B that seamlessly experiments with unusual genre groupings. With the release of Hallucinogen in 2015, Kelela honed in on a particular artist focus that resulted in a thorough and cohesive project that left listeners anxious for her debut album.
Take Me Apart is a soul numbing debut album that shatters expectations of first time listeners and warmly embraces current fans. The project tackles the important facets of R&B directly. Kelela doesn’t hide or submit to average rules of the genre. Her blunt lyrics actively contribute to the song context. Openness in sexuality is a theme that plays a huge role in experiencing this album they way it’s intended to be heard. The subtle undertones in the single, “LMK”, are beautifully sensual, whereas the straightforwardness of “Blue Light” evokes white hot emotional and physical reactions. If this is Kelela’s debut, I can only imagine what’s coming up next.
Favorite tracks: “Jupiter”, “Truth or Dare”, “Turn To Dust”, “Bluff”
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Candice of BINACT is dedicated to creating and sharing positive music perspectives in 500 words or less. She’s an avid indie supporter and a lover of physical CD booklets and comfy sweatpants. Keep up with her on social media by using #BINACT or following her various platforms.