As spring approaches, the announcement of live events continues to ramp up. Two inaugural festivals are gearing up to showcase the sweet sounds of R&B music. First is Dallas, Texas’ TwoGether Land Festival which will feature performances by Summer Walker, Muni Long, Kenyon Dixon, and more across Memorial Day weekend. Then there is Jack Harlow’s brainchild, Gazebo Fest, in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, the same weekend. On the R&B front, SZA, Ravyn Lenea, and Jordan Ward will hold it down. In terms of individual acts, Charlotte Day Wilson will hit the road this spring for her Cyan Blue Tour

If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle, Jhené Aiko and Kehlani have the perfect wind down for you. Although Sleep Soul Relaxing R&B Baby Sleep Music Vol. 4 is for developing minds, there is no reason why an adult couldn’t melt away their worries with the ambient collection.

But what new music dropped this week? This Fresh Finds Fridays column features releases from Dende, Kali Claire, Chlöe, PJ Morton, Samaria, Zyah Belle, Rhyan Douglas, Jalen Ngonda, and Nate Curry. Check out this week’s roundup below. Don’t forget to let us know who you’re listening to in the comment section below.

Dende – Wish You Were Here EP

Dende is one of the most emotion-provoking and retrospective singers in R&B’s new school. As part of his creative collective, CXR, the Katy, Texas native tackles love, relationships, self-identity, gender perspectives, and more. On his new EP Wish You Were Here, the trend continues. 

Across the three songs, executive producer Billy Blunt, Dende peels back another layer of his emotional wall. While short, Dende’s past release cycle history implies that something longer is to come. In just a few tracks, Dende lets his intrusive thoughts run wild. The writing on Wish You Were Here is relatable, and it is that simplicity that makes it so poetic. The production’s neat positioning between R&B and rap creates a pocket where aren’t crippled by your feelings but not completely dismissive of them. Wish You Were Here makes everything matter-of-fact. No shame, no ego, no pride, just pure expression.

Due to its length, it’s hard to pick the standout track. Each record is quite different, but if I had to pick one, it would be “Your Into.”  This is where it kicks off for me, and everything graciously follows after. Dende is slowly becoming the king of project openers. 

Overall, Wish You Were Here is short, sweet, and straight to the point. It is an elevator pitch of who Dende is as a musician. Listeners quickly hear what he’s capable of presenting and can’t help but fall in love with him. Now, the countdown for his full-length album begins. 

Kali Claire – Sad Songs For Winter EP

East London native Kali Claire has the world’s ear, and her new EP Sad Songs For Winter shows why. The 5-track body of work is a deep look at the fragility of emotions. Given the project’s title, the metaphoric meaning isn’t lost on the listener.

In the winter months, as the sunlight fades and darkness rises, there’s nothing to reflect off of. For Kali, she used that period of void to turn inward, using that period of dormancy to evaluate the nourishment of her soil (soul). Better yet, who and what was responsible for her fertilization? On Sad Songs For Winter, Kali makes multiple attempts to revive dying relationships. By the end, her efforts finally pay off as the first bud pieces through on “I Want You.”     

Just as Kali explores her emotion, she does the same for her sound across these tracks and collaborative partners (Phabo, Jada, Shaé Universe, and Jaz Karis). Although I would have preferred for the project not to be riddled with guest appearances, given its brevity, each collaboration complements Kali Claire while showing off a different side of her artistry.

On Instagram, Kali Claire penned a note about the project’s emotional origins. “The change in my mindset over the past couple of years has been WILD,” she wrote. “I feel like I’m exercising happiness now. No amount of self-help books, podcasts, or advice can do your inner work. I’ve come face to face with sadness on so many occasions that this music sort of poured out.”

In short, Sad Songs For Winter is Kali Claire taking inventory of what it is that she needs to do to blossom outside of her comfort zone. Claire will find a way to thrive despite the warm embrace of the spotlight. This EP shows that she eventually will bloom into that rose in concrete.

Sad Songs For Winter’s standout songs are “Escape Plan” featuring Phabo and “Anonymous” featuring Jada.

Chlöe – “FYS”

When you are a bonafide rising R&B star with the backing of Beyoncé, there’s not much that can impress you. For Chlöe, this is especially true. After having traveled the country for her first headlining tour, the singer has seen it all and likely done it all. 

In her latest single, “FYS,” co-produced by Bongo ByTheWay, Go Grizzly, and Cashmere Brown, Chlöe stresses that she just wants someone who’s pure of heart. But most importantly, a lover that doesn’t determine their worth by accolades or tangible items. 

“F*ck your status / F*ck your, your status, it don’t matter / Money, cars and the diamonds

Don’t faze me, I been had it / F*ck your status (Had it) / I just, just wanna love you, baby / What you wanna do,” sings Chlöe.

Co-written with Uforo Ebong, “FYS” is a hard pivot from Chlöe’s previously shared lead singles “Have Mercy” and “Treat Me,” which were heavily influenced by electronic dance music (Jersey Club).  “FYS” is unabashedly trap R&B.

“FYS” is Chlöe’s first single released in 2024 as her debut album, In Pieces, dropped in 2023. 

PJ Morton – “Please Be Good”

As a soloist, PJ Morton has made his bones with moving ballads and breakout duets. On his latest single, “Please Be Good,” which was co-produced with P.Priime, he has taken a sonic turn for the better. 

As he pulls in a of other instrumentalists, including trumpeter John Michael Bradford, saxophonists Amari Ansari (alto), and Zahria Sims (tenor), Morton crafts a new age devotional. In “Please Be Good,” Morton is all about intentionality or as most refer to it speaking things into existence. 

“I don’t require much attention / I just need a little time, yeah / I’ll be back to myself in a minute / I just need to clear my mind / So can you take me to another place? / Somewhere far away / And I don’t need to be in control / I just want to let go / So please be good to me,” sings Morton.

Even though the parameters of gospel music are traditionally strict, several ministers of music have shifted the perspective of what the genre could sound like. So, Morton’s Afro-Caribbean musical elements and R&B vocal harmonies mixed with the inspirational lyrics make it an undeniable gospel record.

“Please Be Good” is PJ Morton’s first solo record since his 2022 album Watch The Sun

Samaria – “Doubt”

Samaria is a well of records ready to be shared with the world. The Oakland, California native isn’t letting her still-fresh album stop her from dropping new music. Her latest fallen-produced track, “Doubt,” continues right when the project left off. 

On this track, specifically, that’s an examination of an emotional rollercoaster ride of a relationship. “Show me / Lose mysеlf when we touch, just control me / When, baby, normally I’d keep things lowkey / Got me doin’ things past-me would judge me right now for / Feel me pull away, that’s when you do things I asked for / Then leave me alone, know it burns deep in my core / My love is hangin’ on, you missin’ every point, never mind,” sings Samaria.

In a statement shared with ThisIsRnB, Samaria spoke about the inspiration behind the record. “Most of my songs are about this one Scorpio I knew,” she said. “I got addicted to the push and pull. If you’ve ever dated a Scorpio, then you know exactly what doubt is about.”

“Doubt” is the follow-up to Samaria’s album Even Paradise Rains, which was released in January. 

Zyah Belle – “You Got It” featuring Rexx Life Raj

After a few years of turbulent personal and professional experiences, Zyah Belle took a step back from the limelight. But now the singer, DJ, and songwriter has emerged with a brand-new song Co-produced by Madness, Aaron Day, and Jake Victor. “You Got It” is a perfect return track for the Vallejo, California native.

After nearly walking away from music in its entirety, “You Got It” is a reminder of just how crucial community support and self-care is. Thanks to the nurturing, counseling, and other supportive measures, Zyah is back, and “You Got It” reminds listeners that if she can power through so can you. 

“I think you should look inside and see the light you’re hiding / The things that you try to fight they shine like diamonds / Just take a moment and see, what we see right inside you / All the reasons to believe that you got it,” sings Zyah.

It is easy to say that this song was written for the public. But in all actuality knowing her personal battles, I think this song was a God send for Zyah Belle personally to aid in her healing process. 

In a post on Instagram, Zyah thanked fans for supporting the record. “It’s been 1 year and 6 months since I’ve dropped new music,” she wrote.  “And y’all have been showing me love like I never left!”

“You Got It” is Zyah Belle’s first release since her 2022 album Yam Grier.

Rhyan Douglas – “Spin The Block”

Given the quality of today’s dating pool, many lovers are learning to work through their differences. For Rhyan Douglas, he’s trying to re-spark an old flame. On the Brampton, Ontario native’s latest single, “Spin The Block,” Douglas ain’t too proud to beg.

Instead of tucking his tail in, he slides forth on bended knee to get his lover back. “Overload / Bit more off than I can chew / Now I’m at fault / ‘Cause in my mind, we look so beautiful / Evergreen eyes / Would you spin the block / If all I did was fix up, I’m tryin’ hard / I’m tryin’ not to give up on you / Forgot we crossed our lines,” sings Douglas.

Douglas is outlining how to not only acknowledge the role he played in the relationship’s demise but repent for his wrongdoings. Co-producer Othxello and Coop The Truth’s interesting choice of instrumentation, including the focus on the pronounced guitar solos, keeps “Illusions” out of the a-typical apologetic R&B song box. 

Also, the track’s switch up near the end, reminiscent of Daniel Caesar or even rapper Kendrick Lamar, creates a pocket of duality. Douglas is both responsive and reflective. “Spin The Block” is set to appear on his forthcoming EP C!RCLES, due out on March 15.

“Spin The Block” is Rhyan Douglas’ follow-up single “Conversations,” which was released in January.   

Jalen Ngonda – “Illusions”

Jalen Ngonda is a musician’s musician. The Liverpool representative simply values each second of a given track. Ngonda truly understands how to emotionally draw an audience in. His latest single, “Illusions,” emphasizes that.

This song is a blast from the past. If you close your eyes and rely only on your ears, you would think it was lifted from the 1960s or ’70s. The production of “Illusions” is a grand symphony of instrumentation. From the demanding horns to the stern bassline, “Illusions” has your full attention from the opening note. 

The track takes an account all elements and values them as equally responsible for creating a Sonic experience, including Ngonda’s tender leading and whimsical backing vocals. Co-written with Mike Buckley and Vincent Chiarito, each line stresses the sense of being wrapped up in love’s embrace. 

As Ngonda sings, “I walk among the crowd / Neon signs surround / The aperture of lover’s name / Oh, how I’m so for sure / That thеy have kissed beforе / And even took each other’s name / Oh, your only memory / Is a love that used to be / To which I never played the part / Oh, all that is left to do is walk the avenue / Of broken misconception hearts,” you can’t help but live vicariously through him.  

“Illusions” is Jalen Ngonda’s first single since the release of his 2023 album Come Around And Love Me.

Nate Curry – “We Good”

Nate Curry is back with new music. The Sacramento recording artist’s latest single, “We Good,” is his newest collaboration with producing partner Cássio. On the track, Curry invites fans into an intimate conversation between him and his lover.

At the core, Curry is seeking understanding. While in a relationship is easy to be dismissive of the other person’s feelings. Or even willfully ignore the cracks in the connection. However, on “We Good,” Curry is being proactive in having the status update to ensure that if anything has fallen through the cracks he is not only made aware but given the time necessary to aid in its repair.

“I can be so demanding / My lack of understanding / Tell me how it is / Lil mamma never spare me / When I got you / How could I dare to have a plan B? / That’d be crazy,” sings Curry.

Curry is setting out of his ego to make forever last.

“We Good” is Nate Curry’s follow-up to “Crash Out.”


*cover photo credit:Qurissy

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