I always find myself more inspired by artists from overseas who create soul music, than our own home grown songstresses and griots. Why? Simply, because its a testament to the universality of soul-music; someone a world away can reach back into the rich history of the artform, add in their own elements and serve us up an enjoyable and refreshing soul cocktail to enjoy.
Joy Denalane is a German-born R&B singer from Schoenberg, Berlin. Of German and South African roots, she’s combined African folk and contemporary R&B and hip-hop in her career to create her own unique sound. However, I didn’t catch wind of her until recently when her video “Change” featuring another favorite of mine, Lupe Fiasco was brought to my attention via Youtube.
It isn’t as bass-heavy as the aformentioned Jeezy track, and features a live horn section. Denalane’s beautiful voice isn’t overwhelmed at all, by the instruments and her voice sails over the track. “Change” is what we call “conscious” music because it’s a song that’s talking about important issues like war and poverty. It’s from Denalane’s first English-language album called “Born & Raised.”
She teams up with another hip-hop heavyweight, Raekwon on my favorite track called “Heaven or Hell”