Alongside R&B star Lauryn Hill, Ray notes hip-hop icon Biggie Smalls as a musical influence, and this fusion of R&B and hip-hop is a winning combination present throughout the EP, particularly on “Memories” where she sings over a ’90s-inspired hip-hop beat produced by SELVSSE, showcasing her versatility as an artist. Keen to build on the EP’s success, she recently released “Talk To Me” by providing lyrics to Tom Misch’s “Wonder” instrumental, and it’s her most popular track to date, boasting an instantly catchy melody and uncovering a more playful side of her songwriting. Having recently resigned from her graduate job to focus on music full-time and a new project already in the works, 2016 looks promising for Miss BLK.
Mabel is one to watch
Current single “My Boy My Town”, written following a move back to London from Stockholm, showcases a more soulful R&B sound, which can be traced back to her early childhood when she began playing the piano at the age of five after being inspired by Destiny’s Child and Lauryn Hill. With both of those acts going down as modern R&B greats, it’s certainly not a bad starting place as far as childhood musical influences go.
A must-hear: “My Boy My Town”
“Every city has a character and, just like people, you have to get to know them. ‘My Boy My Town’ is about how a relationship and the complex relationship you have with a city can so easily become interlinked.”—Mabel
The project’s first single, “The War Inside”, sees the east Londoner depart from his usual tails of love and past relationships, as heard on Vol. 1 standout “Mad About The Boy”, in favour of social commentary on war and conflict. Having left his home-based recording setup to produce the track at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, he had a greater opportunity to experiment sonically, settling on guitars, funky synths and a hypnotic bassline to produce another winner, which succeeds in heightening anticipation for the rest of the EP.
A must-hear: “Mad About The Boy”
“‘Mad About The Boy’ was inspired by a relationship I was in, and it’s my reflection on the challenges of trying to get someone to reveal their true feelings for you.”—Azekel