This week’s Fresh Finds Fridays column is curated by Flisadam Pointer and features releases from Tinashe, Lando Thomas, BJ The Chicago Kid, Samoht, Jon Vinyl, Arianna Reid, and Essosa.
Check out this week’s roundup and don’t forget to let us know who you’re listening to in the comment section below.
Tinashe – BB/ANG3L
Tinashe is in a league all her own, and her new hybrid project, BB/ANG3L, is a prime example. Since becoming an independent artist, the singer has truly had the freedom to explore her heart’s deepest creative desires. On the seven-track body of work, which features the previously shared songs “Needs” and “Talk To Me Nice,” Tinashe digs her heals further into her distinctly crafted fusion of pop, electronic, and R&B.
With BB/ANG3L, Tinashe shows that she is no longer interested in fitting into the box the industry has attempted to force her into on numerous occasions. Instead, she wants to continue to assert her dominance in the outskirts of all genre expectations. To the outside, it may not appear as such, but BB/ANG3L is the end of a trilogy series including 2019’s Songs For You and 2021’s 333.
The album’s standout songs, “Gravity” and “Tightrope,” demonstrate that Tinashe has perfected what makes her music so mystical – mellowed vocals, accessible songwriting, and genre-bending production. Over the course of her career, Tinashe has been pressured to shift what and how she presented herself to the public. That has come to an end over the last few years during her pocket of musical freedom. BB/ANG3L is the Tinashe in her truest and most authentic form.
During an interview with Daze’s journalist Elliot Hoste, she opened up about the inspiration behind the project’s title, which bleeds into its sonic direction: “I was really inspired by screen names and avatars and how we’re able to create our own personas online. We’re able to name ourselves in that way and take control of our identity. I wanted to create something similar to a screen name or some type of tag that I could put on this era that would represent the persona or the energy that I was embodying for this particular project.”
Tinashe’s BB/ANG3L marks a new era for her. The creative she always had envisioned for herself. To support the release of the new project, Tinashe will be hitting the road with Shygirl and supporting act UNIIQU3 beginning in October. Find more information here.
Landon Thomas – R U Still Mad At Me?
Budding singer Landon Thomas is helping to reestablish the independent R&B music scene in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His formal introduction to fans, which was his single, “Talk,” found on his breakout EP Won’t Stay Long in 2022, was just a taste of what he had to offer.
His new thematic album, “R U Still Mad At Me,” is nine tracks of grassroots R&B music. The first offering from the project was the song “Anything,” which showed his ability to merge contemporary R&B with modern accents. Of the remaining tracks on the body of work, the standout are “East Side” and “Miserable.”
R U Still Mad At Me is an outline of the growing pains Thomas has struggled through in his journey to become a better man. The bulk of R&B music shared across the genre’s history has focused on love. Following in the footprint laid by others before him, Thomas uses his platform to paint the fuller picture of the perpetrator’s viewpoint on their actions, which oftentimes leaves others forever damaged.
In a statement shared with ThisIsRnB, Thomas opened up about the inspiration behind the album, saying, “For [R U Still Mad At Me?], I honestly feel like it’s telling the truth behind some of my worst parts as a man. And as a boyfriend. I’ve been dead wrong in situations, even when I’ve had the best intentions. Overall, I feel like this project allowed me to say, ‘Maybe I’m the problem.’”
The city of Pittsburgh has a long, rich history of Black musical pioneers, and Landon Thomas is looking to be added to that list. If given the proper resources, he surely will. R U Still Mad At Me highlighted that his songwriting and vocal talents are nearly there.
Michelle – “Blame Yourself”
K. Michelle’s life is an open book. Her forthcoming album, I’m The Problem, will continue on in the truth-telling lane. On her latest single, “Blame Yourself,” which was produced by Lil Ronnie, the songwriter is turning her attention inward.
Co-written by K. Michelle, Filip Lynah Jr., Jeremiah “Sickpen” Bethea, Rafael Dewayne Ishman, and Ronnie Jackson, “Blame Yourself” is a raw and honest conversation the entertainer is having with herself. K. Michelle hasn’t shied away from discussing her rocky love life, with “Blame Yourself” being the by-product of that transparency.
“From the beginning, girl you knew what it was / What makes you think that your coochie is magical? / You took her man, he made you his main / But now you got his demons, you share her pain, ooh / Watch how you choose ’em / ‘Cause the way you get ’em / Be the same damn way that you lose ’em”
The musician took to her official Twitter page to discuss the record, writing, “Blame Yourself K. Michelle. Stop giving all of you to somebody’s man, hella extra tryna be part of the plan, and then you have the nerve to try and blame him for all the times you laid there while he was giving dick to you. ”
“Blame Myself” is the brilliant follow-up to her previous single “Wherever The D May Land” featuring Gloss Up, “You,” and “Country Love Song” with Justin Champagne. K. Michelle’s album I’m The Problem is set to hit streaming platforms on September 22.
BJ The Chicago Kid – “Spend The Night” feat. Coco Jones
Singer BJ The Chicago Kid has made himself a household name thanks to his soulful downtempo ballads. But on the crooner’s bandwidth runs the gambit and his new uptempo single, “Spend The Night” proves that. The track marks the third drop (“Liquor Store In The Sky” featuring Freddie Gibbs and “Forgot Your Name” with Cory Henry) from his forthcoming project with producer Yeti Beats.
On the silky groove, BJ’s soulful signature is taken to new heights thanks to Yeti’s strategic instrumentation. The track continues his collaborative streak as BJ invites fellow singer Coco Jones in to create harmony heaven.
“Rollin’ around from the floor to the bed / Can’t get you out of my mind / You live free in my head / Stuck inside a lucid dream / Everything’s what it seems / Come closer to me, come closer to me, yeah / Into the night, I see stars in your eyes / Got me trippin’ hypnotized from the way that they shine,” sings BJ.
Coco later joins in to sing, “It’s the way that your body’s down on my body / Boy it’s a party / Can’t lie I’m addicted, want it like quick, quick / Baby you started it / I know that you feel it too / You got me inside my head / I’m thinkin’ ’bout things you do-do-do / Come closer boy, the night’s over when I say it’s over / When I touch you baby then you touch me, I wanna be closer / Love it when you wake me up like coffee, no Folgers, ooh-wee / Got a feelin’ that you might get lucky, no clover.”
In a statement shared about the track, BJ shared his inspiration for the record, saying, “Music is like a journey, and with [Spend The Night], we’ve taken an exciting detour from our standard sounds. It’s an experimental experience. Sometimes, you have to wander off the beaten path to discover a whole new world of creativity.”
“I’m honored to have worked on this collaboration inspired by classic soul duets. This record showcases both BJ and Coco’s unique soulful voices over an unexpected uptempo groove. Coco and BJ delivered a timeless R&B soul record we can dance to,” added Yeti.
Thanks to the release of “Spend The Night,” anticipation for BJ The Chicago Kid’s forthcoming album is shooting through the roof.
Samoht – “Pool”
Summer might be coming to a close, but that isn’t stopping singer Samoht’s desire to go in a swim. The Wilson, North Carolina native’s previous release “Moonlight,” last month singled his return. But on his new wavy single, “Pool,” fans now know that he’s not just dipping his foot in, but rather he’s ready to make a large splash in R&B music yet again.
On the track, co-produced by Sensei Bueno, Alex “LION” Plummer, GOURTY, and WILKE$, the singer is drowning in his emotions. His past single, “Moonlight,” which was released in August, created the tide for “Pool” to flow across. Co-written by Samoht and Daijah Ross, on “Pool” the singer focuses on his violently roaring love as he sings, “We’ve been talking for a minute now / Foreshadow / I see you and me together I can’t help but smile / What up doe / I sit and try to figure you out / Got me smoking cigarettes / I ain’t even into that.”
In a video uploaded to his Instagram Stories, Samoht expressed his gratitude to his supporters, saying, “I just want to come up here and say thank y’all for listening to my music. I’m so grateful and thankful for y’all. Everybody that listens. Everybody that purchases the music. Thank y’all. I’ve been waiting to do this since I was a little boy. So, the fact that this is my life and my career I’m very grateful.”
Jon Vinyl – “Wasted”
Ambition looks great on singer Jon Vinyl. Unfortunately, the Toronto, Ontario native’s pursuit of all that life has to offer is causing friction in his love life, or so his new meditative single “Wasted” suggests. As the follow-up to “Thinkin Bout You” with Jeremy Passion, which was shared back in July, Jon outlines the negative impact of budding fame on “Wasted.”
The track, produced by Avry, Chris Yonge, and Jimmi Nguyen, is a glimpse into Jon’s forthcoming album. As a rising R&B act, the typical muse of his records is his lady companions. But on “Wasted,” Jon and his work ethic are the central focus. As he sings, “In the morning you don’t see me leavin’ / Workin’ on myself, but all you do is sleep in, and I don’t / Wakin’ up like every evening / Feelin’ like there’s more to life, girl, you got me mortified / Baby, all you do is test me / And maybe, it isn’t worth the stressin’ / Got me feelin’ wasted, wasted,” Jon reflects on the relationship’s potential effects on his career.
Jon Vinyl is many things, but a sucker for love is something he’s not willing to be.
Arianna Reid – “Soulmate”
While most people currently shifting through the dating scene aren’t pleased with what they are reeling in, singer Arianna Reid isn’t one of those folks. The Brampton, ON, Canada native is experiencing love’s sweet bliss, and she isn’t afraid to sing about it. In her delicate new single, “Soulmate,” the recording artist boasts about her forever partner. On the record, Reid’s gentle vocals aren’t her only musical ability being spotlights. Not only was the track written entirely by Reid, but “Soulmate” was completely self-produced, which marks her second time (“Love Heals All”).
When Reid sings, “You touched my mind and my spirit / Love so strong, I don’t fear it / Hold your love dear / Commandeer it / Heart’s racing, my heart’s pounding / Can’t stay calm, I’m astounded / Overwhelmed in your presence / In your arms, I’m surrounded,” listeners are inspired to fall in.
On Instagram, the singer opened up about the track, writing, “[Soulmate] is an extension of ‘Love Heals All,’ but this song focuses on the beauty of Eros love and the beauty that can transpire between soulmates. I hope you all feel the love in this music 🤍.”
Arianna Reid’s work on Daniel Caesar’s song “Too Deep To Turn Back” might’ve been her introduction. But she’s showing that she has far too much potential to remain in the background.
Essosa – “Waste My Time
TikTok has become a driving force behind some of music’s biggest acts. R&B newbie Essosa is hoping to tap into that momentum. The Essex, United Kingdom-raised singer and songwriter’s boisterous new single, “Waste My Time,” could be the thing to push the algorithm into her favor.
The track, which was produced by Sunset Drver, is a dance R&B blend that is currently flooding the beloved social media app. Pulling inspiration from inconsistent partners, Essosa turned her frustrations into a catchy bop. Although the song was officially released back in June, now that the supporting visual has been shared on YouTube, you have to pay attention if you haven’t already.
As she sings, “I knew you were gonna hit up my line / It was only just a matter of time / Was it a case of out of sight, out of mind? / ‘Cause something ’bout you just ain’t right / You told me that me you were gon’ see me later / Maybe you were tryna keep me sweet / Got me clutching on my pillow / And checking out the window / But what you want with me,” it is clear that she is wise beyond her years.
This also shows in the chorus’ opening line for “Waste My Time,” where Essosa sings, “Where did you come from baby,” paying homage to Michael Jackson’s 1982 song “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”.
On TikTok, in a series of posts, Essosa spoke about who she dedicated the record to, writing, “This song is for the girlies who got ghosted with no explanation whatsoever. I’m here for you girl.” Later adding, “This song is for the girls that get led on by a loser for real.”