As the holiday enters into full drive, many artists have taken some much-needed vacation time. Some acts are hoping to get a head start on their plans for 2024. Keith Sweat’s mission for next year includes a live show retirement. Beginning in February, the singer will embark on his farewell tour, Make It Last Forever, with SWV, Tyrese, and Pretty Ricky. 

With The Color Purple slated to hit theaters on Christmas Day, Fantasia already knows what her featured film appearance will be, or so she’s hoping. During her appearance on Hoda & Jenna, she told the host that she’d love to play Patti LaBelle in her forthcoming biopic.

Meanwhile, seven-time Grammy Award nominee Victoria Monét is ready to return to the booth. In a sitdown with Mixmag, the singer revealed that for her next body of work, she has her heart set on it being a collaborative album with Kaytranada.

So, what new music dropped? Again, this week is a bit light, but here are a few things you should be listening to. This Fresh Finds Fridays column features releases from the Kwaye, John Legend, and Ryan Leslie. Check out this week’s roundup below. Don’t forget to let us know who you’re listening to in the comment section below.

For three years, Zimbabwean singer Kwaye has kept fans engaged with enticing one-off songs and captivating short-length EPs. Today, his debut album, Learning To Swim, is finally here. After diving into the project, it is clear that many of the eleven tracks featured on the project were blasts from the past, including “Run,” “Be Easy,” and “Blue Days.”

What looked to be loosies thrown out to appease his supporters, it actually turned out to be a breadcrumb trail leading to his fully realized creative work. Although past singles “Runaway,” “Kindness,” and “Too Late” didn’t make the final tracklist, “Fool’s Game,” “Pendulum,” and “Swim For Me” did. Throughout the project, Kwaye finds himself in rocky emotional waters. Learning To Swim opens with a storm of heartbreaking accounts of his love life, but by the end, he’s made it to shore, and he’s calm the sea that is his past. 

‘Learning To Swim’ is truly a resolution to a chapter. Now, as the journey starts new, I release these pages to you. Thank you for riding with me all this way, family – y’all have no idea how much you’ve saved me. The love is real,” wrote the musician in a post on Instagram.

He added, “[The idea of] learning to swim is learning to be still, but refusing to freeze in the face of fear. Being overcome in your calm; be present when you show up.

Kwaye’s Learning To Swim is one of the most fluid project’s that the musician has released to date.

John Legend – “Don’t Need to Sleep”

If you’re ever in the market for a movement of a track to tell your life’s story, John Legend is your go-to guy. The multiple Grammy Award-winning musician, with production assistance from Oak, Alex Nice, and Keith “Ten4” Sorrells, crafted yet another empowerment anthem.

Don’t Need To Sleep” for Waad Al-Kateab’s We Dare To Dream film is about the unwavering perseverance of the documentary’s featured subjects. From his vocal delivery to the confidence-building lyrics, the song encapsulates the feeling of victory in the face of adversity.     

“But tonight, I don’t need to close my eyes / I don’t need to fall asleep / I don’t need to sleep to dream, no, I don’t / Bent but not broken / Down but not hopeless / Eyes are wide open, I know it / Don’t need to sleep to dream,” sings Legend.

Legend took to Instagram to announce the song, writing, “[I’m] so proud to share my latest song, ‘Don’t Need to Sleep’ with you all. I co-wrote this song with Justin Tranter and Oak Felder for the inspiring documentary film ‘WE DARE TO DREAM’ – the story of 5 Olympic refugee athletes who fought their way to safety in order to compete on the world stage at the Tokyo Olympics.”

We Dare To Dream is available for streaming on Peacock. Click here to watch now.

Ryan Leslie – “Run It Back”

Although Ryan Leslie got his booming start in music, over the past decade, his focus has been in the tech space. However, he hasn’t abandoned music completely. On his latest single, “Run It Back,” which was co-produced by Cash Money AP, he shows that he still has one foot in the industry.

“Baby, I never meant to do you like that / Maybe we should run it back / We did some things I know we probably regret / So maybe we should run it back / You know I never meant to hurt you, no / Maybe we should run it back / Got some issues we gotta work through / So maybe we should run it back,” sings Leslie.

With his European tour is set to kick off in March 2024, fans certainly going to ask the musician to run this song back a few times live.


*cover photo credit:Jack McKain



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