London artists recently are occupying spaces between hip-hop and R&B rather successfully.
Not only do artists like Raye and Loyle Carner chart well, but the genre has received critical acclaim also (both Raye and Loyle Carner are Mercury nominated this year).
A new addition to this group of artists is Rya. He’s a multi-instrumentalist with an appreciation for the jazz and neo-soul that has cross-fertilised London’s hip-hop scene in recent years.
And this is audible with ‘SHOW OFF.’ Rya’s voice is soulful and smooth. His voice glides between notes, while sounding almost conversational in tone.
It’s undoubtedly his greatest strength. But the hypnotic beat that backs him isn’t far behind. It’s a little lo-fi and drowsy but aesthetically appropriate.
The recurring guitar motif is especially well integrated into the laid-back vibe. This relaxed approach nears lethargy at times, but still entertains. The blending of complementary genres makes this a colourful instrumental too.
Rya’s vocals, so resolute for most of the song, dissipate halfway through, becoming distant in a display that shows how in tune he is with the art of allowing different instruments to take the lead.
It’s a strong single, if one-dimensional. But with Rya’s multi-genre approach so ingrained, what he achieves with SHOW OFF. Is likely one facet of his musical pallet.
A full-length project that sees Rya expand upon his influences with the same care as he displays here would be an anticipated and exciting listen. Here’s to hoping for more of the same from an exciting addition to an in-demand genre.