I’ve not written any of these columns in 2016. Partly it’s because I’ve been exceedingly busy. Partly it’s because I wanted to change the focus of them. For a while there back last year I wrote about almost everything that I was sent by bands, artists and PR people. I totally respect the hard work it is to promote yourself as a band, and the hard work that PR people do on behalf of their clients, so I thought it was important to write as much as I could about as many artists as I could when they came my way. Which is noble, perhaps even laudable. Except that these columns started to go down well as people shared them and the sheer volume of music I was being sent became unmanageable. I had folders of stuff to review, organised by release date, then those got too big, and so I just gave up. I’ve been writing c1 review per week fro Drowned in Sound this year. You can find my writer’s profile there by clicking on this sentence.
And so I resolved after a fair bit of stress that I needed to be nicer to myself this year, and not feel quite so beholden to everyone and everything. I said to myself that I’d only write about things that truly gave float to my boat, that the title of this column would once again be apt.
And then I didn’t get round to writing any columns.
I’m trying to rectify this. There’ll be a couple of pieces in the next few days about some fantastic albums and EPs that have given me much joy this year. Some of them you’ll know about. Some you may not. That’s the fun of things like this. So, if you’re a PR person, the review you’re waiting for is probably coming. Unless I didn’t love the record you sent me. In which case it may very not be. Sorry about that.
To start things off again though, it’s a great joy, perhaps even a privilege, to share with you the new single and video from the fabulous TaRee. ‘The Way I Do’, as a song, is a sumptuous piece of soulful R&B. It has a great, sweeping chorus. TaRee’s vocal is a thing of wonder throughout. It’s pretty much the perfect soul single.
But there’s so much more to this piece than that.
When I recorded for the Ghostree EP in Nashville way back in 2011 (in what feels like another lifetime), our producers Kevin Bruchert and Brandon Perdue (who just won a Grammy, way to go Brandon!) had just finished recording the Crazy Love EP with TaRee. The first time I heard that EP was one of a few rare moments when music was not just something I enjoyed, or even loved, but something which touched me to the deepest extent imaginable. That voice, the power in the songwriting. That amazing voice (I know I’ve mentioned it more than once, it’s for effect). Even though the EP was a mere 5 tracks, and was designed as a demo, it stayed with me for near-on 5 years. I returned to it often. Once heard, ‘All We Are’ from that EP cannot be forgotten. It’s impossible.
And I waited. And waited and waited. Waited for TaRee’s inevitable domination of the world of Soul/RnB to come to pass. I was perplexed when it did not, even angry at the injustice of it all, that someone with such talent, so many great songs, could not find ears to hear.
But now, finally, things begin to come to pass, with this amazing project. I could talk about the video and its powerful storyline relating to police brutality and the oppression of Black people, but really you should just watch it, take its message to heart, download the single and support TaRee in her continuing artistic endeavours. There is, honestly, no more exciting a Soul singer in the world right now than TaRee. Don’t miss this.