Artist Profile – Kendra Morris

Loud was the sound of the birds when they landed in spite of
Noise from the boys with the rocks in their fists
Looking to bring a man down to the bottom of a thousand ton well
One tiny push send that man into hell

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          The status of R&B has been in critical condition over the past few years, and there haven’t been a lot of singers that have come out and were truly dynamic in their approach, especially when it has come to the soulful sound that the foundation of R&B was built upon. As time progresses and moves on, the sound has drastically changed in a way that’s more electronic and it steps away from the natural rhythm of the blues. I can truly understand as to why people commit themselves to listening to one era of R&B (or any genre, for that matter), because to them, that was the time when it was at its prime, and they protect its precious sound. From watching an episode of Ray Donovan, my mother told me about Kendra Morris, and after listening to Banshee (which is also the title of her debut album), I discovered that she is a singer with that soulful sound that is distinct, yet it reminds me of the late Amy Winehouse. The same type of reaction I had when I first heard Gary Clark Jr., it’s the soul that engulfed me, but I didn’t want that to be the only reason to give her the nod.

Many people believe that you have to be young (I mean like, in your 20s) to break out, but as a trend that I’ve noticed recently, it’s the impact of people in their low 30s that are taking the game by storm. Age isn’t a prerequisite and it isn’t synonymous with talent – if you’re good, you’re good. based out of New York City (which is the type of musical city), you can hear that inner-city influence in her style, and when you have legends like DJ Premier reach out and remix one of your songs, you must be doing something right (listen to Concrete Waves). What separates a singer’s ability from the rest is how well they can write a song – it’s everything. You can sing your ass off but not have any lyrics to help your cause, and I’m pretty sure you can name off some examples off the top of your head, so I find appreciation with Kendra because she can sing, and she can write a complete song. Although she doesn’t have a lot of music, of what I’ve heard between Banshee and Mockingbird (an album of strictly covers – very good, might I add), there’s enough to know that she’s legit, and the hope is that her popularity will surge and thus more music will come from it. Included, I found a couple of tracks on her Soundcloud page that are a bit older, but are definitely worth checking out (especially her cover of Kanye West’s Can’t Tell Me Nothin’).

The soul still exists, and although you can’t fully bring back the past, that doesn’t mean that the influences from then can’t resonate now. Kendra’s the type of singer that can move R&B back into a direction of modern-day appreciation and will hopefully become a trend of more talent to pour out. You’ve got to hand it to TV, because it’s still a medium that can break people, and with the continuing growth of technology, it’s the indies that will rise quicker than ever. Check her out, and definitely enjoy.

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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