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  • Writer's pictureValarie Stephens

R&B - The New Generation

So, I have to admit that I’m an R&B connoisseur that’s stuck in the 90’s. That would make me around 40 something… I guess:) I’m pretty critical when it comes to today’s music and have found that I have a strong bias towards the 90’s feel good type of R&B music. In most cases I can make a strong argument on why the music in that era was just overall better than today’s music. There was more feeling, more emotion, more soul period.

I mean who today can touch any of Silk’s music; ‘Girl you for Me, ‘If You,’ ‘Meeting in My Bedroom’ or Jodeci’s ‘Come and Talk to Me, ‘Love U 4 Life,’ ‘Feenin’, ‘Stay.’ The list goes on and on. To me that was an untouchable era of R&B that just cannot be duplicated. I’ve been somewhat disappointed in much of today’s R&B music that I consider a watered-down version of its former self. No disrespect to any of the hard-working artists out there that strive for originality and uniqueness. Music seems very gimmicky nowadays and many artists follow suit with the current trends in the industry. Not to say that all artists are like this but there are those rare gems that stand out amongst the crowd.

So much to my delight I came across an artist named Gallant who is a phenomenal talent. I mean where have I been? This artist has been making music for the past couple of years and creating a name for himself in the industry. I must admit I chuckled when I told my daughter about this artist who of course she already knew and made me feel even older by saying that she was surprised I was embracing an artist of her generation.

Ha! Am I really that old I asked. She knows me well and has heard my play list of oh so many 90’s era songs so I will give her a break. Gallant is a breath of fresh air in R&B and as an artist period. His style and mannerisms captivate me. His vocal and musical tone are mesmerizing. He literally stopped me in my tracks and made me pay attention. When I first heard his song ‘Doesn’t Matter,’ on the radio, it immediately took my mind to a different place. It made me feel nostalgic, reminiscent of the past, thankful for the present and hopeful for the future all within the same song. Wow…. almost as if the music had a magical spell that evoked all those different emotions.

After first hearing his song I did a search on his body of work and was very impressed. His acoustic version of the song absolutely blew me away. The best way I describe Gallant’s sound is a wonderful mixture of Usher and Maxwell with a hint of Seal. But at the same time, he is all original in terms of his presentation, style, mannerisms and artistic scope. I don’t think for a minute that he purposely tries to sound like them but that they are definitely musical influences.

Very rarely do I get excited about a new artist. Aaliyah was an artist that had a similar effect on me. Her music made me stop in my tracks and say, ‘Wait, what is this?’ She always seemed to stay ahead of the curve in both music and fashion influence and would top herself with each new musical release.

We are slowly losing all the greats in music; Prince, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Teena Marie (underrated), Aretha Franklin. It’s good to see upcoming creative talent breathe new life into R&B music. Artists like Daniel Ceasar, Jidenna, H.E.R will all leave their carbon footprint in the music arena.

In my opinion Gallant is the new generation of R&B musical talent that will take it to new heights and bring back what I feel R&B is missing. I look forward to this young man’s music and his contributions to R&B.

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