The Kansas City Chiefs were declared the official Super Bowl LVIII winner. However, Usher was the true victor of the night. The singer’s Halftime Show performance set new viewership records as he treated watchers to what they should expect from his forthcoming Past Present Future Tour. But before the ‘King Of Vegas’ was joined onstage by past collaborators Alicia Keys, Jermaine Dupri, Lil Jon, and Ludacris, there was another vocalist that had those at home in awe. Grammy and Golden Globe winner Andra Day took to the field to sing a powerful rendition of  “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Moments after the halftime show, a bombshell was dropped. By way of her Verizon-back commercial, Beyoncé subsequently announced new music was on the way. With singles “16 Carriages” and “Texas Hold ‘Em,” Renaissance Act II has kicked off Bey’s pivot into country music, and the Beyhive is here for it.

While in Las Vegas, Usher and his longtime partner, Jennifer Goicoechea, officially tied the knot. Whereas NAO’s family grew in another way. On Instagram, the singer announced the birth of her second child. In the meantime, her focus will rightfully so be on motherhood and not music. So, supporters are going to have to love on her oldies for now.

But, speaking of classic tunes, for those obsessed with R&B pioneers, then the Fool in Love Festival is here for you. The inaugural one-day music extravaganza features headliners Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, and more. If you’re looking for something less vintage, Elle Varner has you covered via her City Winery Unplugged Tour as she performs both her older and newer records. 

But what new music dropped this week? This Fresh Finds Fridays column features releases from Shaé Universe, B Smyth, Jastin Martin, Andra Day, Solomon, Jon Vinyl, WanMor, Chanel Loren, and RNBHunter. Check out this week’s roundup below. Don’t forget to let us know who you’re listening to in the comment section below.

Shaé Universe – Love’s Letter 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Shaé Universe has a sweet treat for lovers of love. Whether you’re happily partnered or basking in your singleness, the London native’s new album Love’s Letter, has a message for all to walk away with. 

Across the project’s 10 tracks, listeners will find themselves examining their own personal definition of love. Following in the prolific footsteps of bell hooks’ groundbreaking book, All About Love, Shaé emphasizes that love isn’t a mystical feeling but rather a radical choice. 

Although romantic love is at the center of its standout songs, “What’s Luv?” and “Passenger Princess,” other records, such as “Oh, Wait…” and “No Capacity,” demonstrate that love exists in different forms. Familial, platonic, spiritual grounding and view of self are separate but equal sectors of love’s pie. The album points out how we prioritize romantic love while neglecting all other aspects of the healing emotion.

In a statement shared with ThisIsRnB, Shaé spoke about the inspiration behind the album. “In a time where life has felt increasingly heavy,” she said. “’Love’s Letter’ is here to help us process all the layers from a place of love: the changes, the uncertainty, the distance, the isolation, the frustrations, the cycles, and the growth. This one’s for the people who are ready to face themselves and return to love.”

Shaé Universe’s album Love’s Letter is sure to be her breakout across the globe.

Smyth – Brandon 

On November 17, 2022, B. Smyth’s life was cut short following a battle with Pulmonary fibrosis. The singer’s untimely death came as he was in the process of releasing his independent album. But his family wanted to ensure that his hard work made its way to his fans. His posthumous album, Brandon, does just that. 

During Smyth’s life, he achieved notable success, including commercial radio success, thanks to his contribution to LightSkinKeisha’s 2018 “Ride Good.” On Brandon, Smyth’s talents are on full display. Standout tracks “Right Now” featuring 1TREKK, “Waist Work,” and “Take Time” are a bittersweet reminder of his superstar potential.

Jastin Martin – Miss Me Yet…Now? Deluxe

In August 2023, Jastin Martin released her major label debut album, Miss Me Yet? Well, the Houston native felt that the project was missing a few things of its own, so its back as a deluxe release. 

Miss Me Yet…Now? Deluxe shows that in that six-month gap, she’s learned to play well with others. On her initial release, Martin showcased her skillset. From instrumentation and songwriting to her vocal style, listeners had a thorough understanding of what she brought to the table. On this go-around, she decided to prove that she’s a capable producer who truly understands what compliments her. 

The original body of work was more than enough, but the recent addition of several guest verses by Eric Bellinger, Sammie, and Raheem Devaughan pushed it into another realm. 

Andra Day – “Probably”

Sometimes, breakups are messy, no matter how much love existed prior to its demise. In Andra Day’s latest single, “Probably,” off her forthcoming album, Cassandra, she gives a firsthand account of a rough dust-up.

Produced by Caleb Morris, Charles Jones, David Wood, Nando Raio, and Shay Godwin, “Probably” is a look at the three sides of a split (yours, theirs, and the truth). As friends and family try to piece together the cracks in the relationship, Andra couldn’t care less about the rumors that paint her as the villain. 

“You’re always the good guy, I didn’t know / Oh, and my heart was wide open / You could choose to be real, but no / You probably tell the world that I hated you / But you know more than anyone that’s from true / I loved you / Probably tell the world I didn’t believe in you / But you know more than anyone, I’m solid, boo / I loved you,” sings Andra. 

She doesn’t wish to play the game of blame absolution. She just wants it to be over, taking a page out of Chrisette Michelle’s book.

“Probably” is Andra Day’s follow-up “Where Do We Go.”

Solomon – “Over”

It’s nothing like Valentine’s Day to remind you of your least favorite romantic experiences. While others are feverishly focused on lovemaking. Others are passionately putting a stopper on things. Solomon’s new single, “Over,” is of the latter. After ignoring all of the red flags, he has decided to wave his white flag to bring the relationship to a close. 

Essentially, “Over,” which was co-produced by Daoud, is a breakup song. But after a close examination of the record’s lyrics, it is a stone-cold call out as well. But, sometimes, wrongdoings have to be publicly acknowledged. 

“Well, I guess this is the end / Don’t know what’s left for us, but I’m done with the pretend / My friend don’t cry to me for closure / You already signed the dotted line when you called him over / you stained the sheets it is plain to see / Don’t play with me, then claim that it’s okay to be / I hate to see / What came to be was make-believe / Don’t make me leave late now / This sh*t’s over / I’ve exposed ya,” sings Solomon.

“Over” is Solomon’s follow-up to 2023’s “Unrequited.”

You can catch Solomon performing live on stage in the US as part of Pink $weats’ Acoustic Tour. Click here for more information. 

Jon Vinyl – “Clouds”

Jon Vinyl is a lover boy he’s proud of it. The Canadian crooner has no problem using his real-life romantic explorations as an inspiration for his music. So, on his latest single, “Clouds,” he dives into his perception of love.

To Jon, love is about being all in. On the record, he expresses just how deeply emotionally invested he is in this blossoming relationship. He’s head over hills, caughted up, down bad, all of the romantic puns but isn’t too gush about this excitement.

“Girl, I know I never told you / I just wanna feel you closer / And show you what you really mean to me / I’m comfortable around your energy / On a rainy day / Oh, you take my pain / You always been there for me when I need you,” sings Jon.

The record, which was co-produced by Preston Pablo, Jimmi Nguyen, Justin Nozuka, and Chris Stiliadis, is a treat for fans slated to see Jon soon when this The Heartbreak Hill Tour starts in March. Click here for more information. 

“Clouds” is Jon Vinyl’s first release since dropping his 2023 album Heartbreak Hill.

WanMor – “Baby”

WanMor’s goal of reviving the boy group movement continues with their latest single, “Baby.” In their previous releases, the act has paid homage to their father, Wanya Morris (of Boyz II Men), demonstrating they have a solid foundation. 

Now working with producers Hitmaka and The Breed, “Baby” shows that they are ready to build a legacy of their own. The song is a light-hearted romance tale appropriate for all age groups. They have their father’s name and genetic vocal capabilities, but what makes these sounds stand out is it highlights that they also have his ear for production. 

They will have plenty of time to showcase their range. For now, their focus on appealing to rhythmic radio is what will get them into the households much more quickly. WanMor is working smarter.

“Baby, baby, baby, baby / You know I’m so proud of you / I keep it a hundred with you / I love when I’m sliding through / My baby, baby, baby, baby / I can’t get enough of you / Shaking off all these blues / Oh, my baby, baby, baby,” the chorus.

“Baby” is WanMor’s follow-up to their 2023 “Please Don’t Go” cover.

Chanel Loren – “Carelessly Doomed” featuring Kota The Friend

R&B’s reach knows no limits. Sydney, Australia-based singer Chanel Loren’s budding career is a testament to that. The London native’s new Cyrus Villanueva-produced single, “Carelessly Doomed,” featuring rapper Kota The Friend, is an exciting show of two worlds colliding. 

If you’ve been following the singer, then this song shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it’s been teased off and across our social media platforms. However, now that the final product is here, it was surely worth the wait. 

The first rule of finding peace is to establish boundaries. Next is to continuously release stresses and worries onto you, not only by others but yourself. This self-protective action is all “Carelessly Doomed” is all about. In a world that’s never slowing down, with a 24-hour news cycle and other needs for constant connection, it is hard to disconnect. Somehow, Chanel has found the secret to managing it all: outlining her process on the record.

“I’m thinking at a hundred miles / In my mind, to keep me safe / Acting like my life’s on trial / I got no time to escape / But where am I going? / And what is the rush? / When being uncertain is never enough / If I could, I’d leave my thoughts in my backseat / Where my eyes can’t see / I’ll be carelessly doomed / On a road I’ve never known to find some peace / Where my mind’s at ease / To be carelessly doomed,” sings Chanel.

“Carelessly Doomed” is Chanel Loren’s first solo single since 2022’s “F4U.”

RNBHunter – “Like Me”

New Jersey native RNBHunter is forging a path for himself. The singer gained attention after doing background work for Fridayy’s tape performance. Now, RNBHunter wants the spotlight for himself. On his new single, “Like Me,” he’s working towards that.

With love in his heart, the record shows that RNBHunter is a patient man. Witnessing someone you care for being done wrong if difficult, but sometimes you can’t do much but provide emotional support. “Like Me” is RNBHunter expressing his concerns about his secret crush while playing the support role until it is an opportunity to love her properly. 

In the record, RNBHunter leans into different nostalgic 2000s references, and even the cover artwork is a reference. “Like Me” is RNBHunter’s first release of the year. However, he has hinted across his social media pages that there is more to come.

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