A few months ago, I touched on my disappointment in the fact that there weren't many rising black artists gaining widespread popularity
. In the short time that has passed it now seems as though they're coming out of the woodwork–from SZA to Aminé and now, the incredibly promising singer/songwriter Kelela
. She began releasing her talent to the world in the form of vocal covers over instrumental tracks back in 2013 on her mixtape Cut 4 Me,
but it wasn't until the release of her 2015 EP Hallucinogen
that people began to truly realize the kind of artist they had on their hands. The EP features her track "Rewind," which has accumulated over 5 million streams on Spotify. Kelela mixes her knowledge and love of the R&B and jazz that she grew up listening to with elements of pop and electro music to great a perfect sound that is entirely unique to her creations, and pairs exceptionally with her smooth yet powerful vocals.
Just yesterday, Kelela released her first single since Hallucinogen
titled "LMK," an acronym for "Let Me Know" if you're a senior citizen and didn't get that the first time around. It's alright, grandma. The track begins with a sound similar to that of Banks, but when Kelela's vocals hit they couldn't be more distinct. "No one's trying to settle down," the vocalist sings in this chilled out dance track as she informs the person being spoken to that her plans revolve around herself, rather than them. When she's ready to go, she's ready to go and doesn't care who's bothered by it. Unbothered and carefree, she reminds them, "It ain't that deep, by the way." The track exudes confidence, which seems to be a growing trend in tracks released by female artists, and I couldn't ask for a better trend.
Along with this single release comes the announcement of Kelela's debut album. The 14 track project, Take Me Apart,
is set to be released this fall on October 6th. From the title, I think it's safe to predict that this is going to be an increasingly personal collection of tracks that tell parts of Kelela's life and personality that can't be found anywhere else. Her work is genuine and enjoyable, so this album won't be any different and will definitely be worth the wait. We'll be keeping up to see if any other singles are dropped between now and October's release date, as well as if there is any possibility of a tour announcement coming up. Kelela really is the one to watch at the moment.