R&B is definitely changing. It has been for a while. I’m sure the whole world can agree on that one!
There is a new wave of artists challenging the R&B genre. Some that come to mind pioneering this new age R&B include Frank Ocean, Jhene Aiko, FKA Twigs, The Weeknd and Banks. They have all created music that cuts against the typical old school sounds of R&B. New techniques subdivides the genre giving it an alternative and futuristic sound. In producing music that appears to stem from some deep emotion, they have given uniquely seductive, yet draining accounts of their life experiences – all over trippy and ethereal, slow tempo instrumentals.
Another addition to this clan of artist bringing a new dimension to RnB music is Shi Wisdom. Today’s Under The Spotlight artist.
Toronto, Canada’s Shi Wisdom is an artist too difficult to categorise in one box. New to these pages but not new to the industry, she had already been credited as co-writer on Rita Ora and Drake’s Smash hit single ‘RIP’.
In her most recent work, Shi’s melancholic tone and less typical song topics gives her a uniqueness that stand out amongst the current crop of mainstream music. She is grounded in a lane of her own. But besides her singing, she is an amazing writer, with extremely poetic, sometimes sensual, with thought provoking lyrics that provides enough depth to transform your atmosphere. Her writing talent fully shines in her most recent works such as ‘LVSPK’ and ‘Stranger Things Have Happened’.
The talented singer/songwriter had for a while been rumoured to have ghost written some of Drake’s lyrics (because of their working relationship), which she strongly refutes saying “As I said before, I’ve never been a ghostwriter a day in my life!”. I myself would see that as a compliment in someways, given how successful Drake is.
When discovering new artists I like to check their whole discography back to the very first release. Shi is no different. I found even her early work a pleasurable and enjoyable listen.
’The Shi Wisdom Mixtape’ her first and somewhat a test in the waters project, was released back in 2007. Richly filled with her own versions of classic songs. Take for example, Shi’s version of Jill Scott’s ‘A Long Walk’ is sung over Biggie’s ‘Big Poppa’ instrumental. This mixtape alone showed the potential.
When exploring her music, you may notice a lack of consistency in overall sound. Yet, this makes her all the more intriguing.
She mentions herself that she is inspired by many genres of music which is all apparent in her own music which she claims full creative control over. In being familiar with her music for some two years, she goes from R&B with an underlying techno sound (‘Bad Mood’ and ‘Easier’), to full-on R&B and Hip Hop (‘Bedsheet’ and (a favourite) ‘Young Gunner’).