As festival and summer tour season approaches, several artists are looking to give R&B fans something to sink their teeth into. Not only are legacy acts such as Lalah Hathaway (“The Energy”) and Angie Stone (“Good Man”), but the descendants of R&B royalty Sy’Rai (“On My Own”) have released new music.
On the other hand, new age R&B leaders BJ The Chicago Kid inked a new deal with RCA Records and Jade Novah made an appearance on the beloved animated show The Simpsons. Rising singer Coco Jones continues to build upon the foundation of her momentous single, “ICU.” While singer Phabo proves why he’s one of the newer acts to watch. Lastly, megamixes showed up and showed out across streaming platforms.
Check out this week of Fresh Finds Fridays’ selection featuring BJ The Chicago Kid, Coco Jones, Kevin Ross, Jade Novah, Dondria, and Phabo. Let us know what new releases you’re listening to in the comment section.
BJ The Chicago Kid – “Forgot Your Name” feat. Cory Henry
BJ The Chicago Kid has been a force in R&B music since bursting onto the scene in the early 2010s. With each release, the Grammy Award-nominated singer has found a way to refreshingly blend the core elements of traditional soul musicology, including heavy brass instrumentation and modern R&B songwriting styles, to present fans of the genres with the best of both worlds.
On his RCA Record debut single, “Forgot Your Name,” featuring Cory Henry, BJ leans into what made him a beloved figure in R&B. Co-produced by Charlie Bereal and Yeti Beats, “Forgot Your Name” is a play on lustful intentions dressed up in liturgical garments. As BJ sings, “They just yelled ‘last call’ / I was debating but f*ck it, baby, let’s have one more / It’s close to the last song / And truthfully I don’t wanna go home alone,” the organ predominantly featured in the background gives off an eerily familiar energy to his 2016 song, “Church.”
In a statement released to the public, BJ The Chicago touched on the inspiration behind the song, writing, “This song is inspired by that feeling of meeting someone at a bar and being swept up in the moment, only to realize you can’t remember their name. It’s a mix of excitement and vulnerability, but ultimately it’s about the universal desire to connect with others and create meaningful experiences that last long after the night is over.”
“Forgot Your Name” is an appetizer for his forthcoming album, just under four minutes of run time, it would seem substantial in terms of today’s standards, but still, his sonic intention hasn’t been clearly laid out. Keep your ears pulled for what’s next from BJ The Chicago Kid.
Coco Jones – “Double Back”
Slow and steady wins the race. Coco Jones and her team’s marketing strategy is the embodiment of this proverb. On streaming services, the singer’s EP What I Didn’t Tell You, released last year, shows continual growth. Of course, the deluxe edition of the project has played a part in it. However, the bulk of credit belongs to Coco’s rich vocals heard throughout the project. Now that the official music video is out for her latest single, “Double Back,” the song has taken center stage.
Produced by London On Da Track, “Double Back” is the perfect follow-up to the recording artist’s previously shared lead single “ICU.” On “ICU,” Coco proved that she’s a student of the genre showcasing her range, understanding of tonality, and importance of clean harmonies. Whereas on “Double Back,” Coco shows that she is aware of the new age R&B fans’ preferences. “Double Back” is short and straight to the point while pulling listeners in with an easily recognizable reference, the SWV “Rain” sample.
When discussing the EP overall in a press release, Coco said, “This project will hopefully share my real-life experiences with my fans and show them that I’m just like them. Sometimes people see me as the characters I play, but these stories are my own script.”
Jade Novah – Butterfly
Jade Novah has been on a spiritual journey across her latest musical releases. Whether it takes the shape of an EP heard across her 2022 project Moon In Pisces or loosie single “Butterfly,” the songwriter is going to bare it all for her fans. Produced by her husband and often collaborator Devin Johnson, “Butterfly” is a song dedicated to the importance of self-love. Although the song was originally released back in mid-April, thanks to her appearance on The Simpsons, the song has reentered the algorithm.
As Jade sings, “Only loved you ’cause I ain’t loved myself / That version me no longer exists no more / Loving you was toxic for my health / I lost my colors trying to please another / Too unrecognizable to be in love,” self-reflection has never sounded so good. In a post uploaded to her Instagram page, Jade outlined the inspiration behind the song, writing, “[Butterfly] is about letting go of what no longer serves you and allowing yourself the space and grace to evolve, because growth is a never-ending journey that looks different for everyone. I’m challenging myself to do more of what scares me (in the best way).”
Kevin Ross – “First Dose”
If there’s a musical hill I’m willing to die on, it is that Kevin Ross is one of the most underappreciated men in contemporary R&B. With two singles, “Look My Way” as well as “Show & Prove,” the musician has officially entered the album cycle. Ross’ upcoming project, Midnight Microdose Vol. 1, is slated to drop later this month, and to hold fans over, he’s released a teaser single to drill home what they should expect from the body of work.
Written, performed, and produced by Ross, “First Dose” is an enticing sample of what the full project has in store for fans. In just under one minute, Ross makes it crystal clear what Midnight Microdose Vol. 1 is all about thanks to the groundwork “Look My Way” and “Show & Prove” laid down. With beautiful layer stacking, delicate instrumentation, and sensual subject matter, I’m sold.
Midnight Microdose Vol. 1 is out on 5/26 via Art Society Music Group/EMPIRE. To pre-save, click here.
Bryon Juane – “Obsessed (Fantasy Mix)” feat. Dee Gatti, Bairi, Sherrionn
Rap songs aren’t the only ones deserving of megamixes. Byron Juane shows why more R&B artists should venture into reimagined versions of their tracks with the release of “Obsessed (Fantasy Remix)”. Originally featured on his 2022 album A Little Crazy, “Obsessed” was a song that quickly gained steam online. Whether fans were using it as the featured sound in their videos or other artists were participating in open verse challenges, the single fawned over one fixated viewpoint of desire as Bryon sings, “It ain’t enough for you to fall in love / I want you obsessed / I want you obsessed.”
While the original version produced by Jeremy Dupree and Beki is written from the perspective of a man, on the fantasy mix, Byron enlists Dee Gatti, Bairi, and Sherrionn to paint a fuller picture, including both the women’s and non-binary person’s sexual demands an artistic goal Byron has made clear since entering into music.
“I want people to feel every single emotion that is associated with love. I want my music to have that nostalgic feeling attached to it. Whether romantic or not, you can go back and say, ‘A Byron song expresses this moment,’ and you go back and listen,” said Byron in a press release.
Dondria’s “Good Company (Girl’s Night)” feat. Zonnique and Natasha Mosley
Mercury is in retrograde, and Dondria is taking extra precautions. If the release of her latest album, Perspective, didn’t teach you anything, it is your time to take notes. The year has proven to be an eye-opener for many, including the singer. While others start their spring cleaning in the second quarter of the year, the songwriter began that at the top of the year. For Dondria discarding relationships, people, and mindsets that no longer serve her was atop the list. Her song “Good Company” is the manifestation of that.
On the remix of the track, the recording artist brings in fellow R&B vocalists Zonnique and Natasha Mosley to celebrate this mental breakthrough moment. “Good Company (Girl’s Night)” is a jovial empowerment anthem amongst friends tailor-made for this time of year. Each lady gives their manifesto of what they’re letting go of as we enter the summer months encouraging listeners to do the same.
Phabo – “Casamigos”
Properly channeling liquid courage requires a special set of acquired skills, of which Phabo has. In his new single, “Casamigos,” co-produced by Eric Hudson, Ezzra, and Phillip C. Lewis, the singer embodies the smooth nature that the American tequila company has become known for.
As the track opens, Phabo sets his intentions immediately as he sings, “Hurry up, give me energy / On a missing when we’re in the sheets / Just to keep you from making decisions / That could ruin our perfect chemistry.” Over the course of the next two minutes, the musician allows the listener in on have the scenario played out. Shifting between English and Spanish, Phabo demonstrates the duality between his sober and drunk thoughts.
“Casamigos” isn’t a cheesy namesake song to play up on a brand’s notoriety but rather a masterful metaphoric display of how witty pop culture references bathed in sonic intentional will always be a winning combination.