I had intended on posting this great track from Elle Varner earlier this week, but as you know here at GFM we may not always be first but you can count on us for having something to say about what we co-sign 🙂 First, I always admit when the repeat button is engaged and these days that is no small feat with the sheer amount of music in the marketplace. But, for me that’s the only way to really get to know the music that grabs me on the first spin, consequently one or two listens is not going to get it.

Being a tried and true 90’s R&B head of course this track would resonate with me, but more than just feeling nostalgic for an era, this writer has documented how he’s been nostalgic for melody. I have been involved in more than one conversation concerning the very, very limited melodies that have dominated music in the main for the last decade or so.

I like color in my music, who in the hell wants to listen to gray? Nothing against gray, but give me some blue, some red, hell give me Roy G. Biv: color, Color, COLOR!(Jan Brady Voice). You can’t create color singing the same damn note over and over as well as you can’t create color singing the same damn scale over and over.

Here’s a little advice: Let’s say you want to sing or write R&B. While you must stay abreast of what’s happening in your chosen marketplace, I wouldn’t spend all my time listening to and imitating what currently exists. Nope, I would spend about 20% of my time there and the other 80% of the time listening to everything but, plus I would spend that time reading a book, watching a documentary, taking a trip, watching people at the mall, getting lost in your city and on and on. That’s how you create color in your music. The color comes from the tension and release and you don’t create tension by going for what’s comfortable.

That’s what Elle Varner has achieved here musically, the notes are not falling in that pre-determined mode that has dominated our ears. There’s urgency here, a frenetic delivery and for me that’s much closer to real life and what I want to hear than some tired ass, contrived, devoid of emotion, robotic, pentatonic lite production by some chanteuse who really should have never opened her mouth to sing to begin with, no my friends this type of “singer” should have done us all a favor and just sat there and posed for the camera.

I don’t know if I made it blatantly obvious but how Elle deliver here is how I like my singers, with a side of fire, you can really miss me with that cute ish. I thought the verse from J. Cole was cool but my purpose here really is focused on the signing because I think part of the problem we face is we stopped focusing on the singing.

On another note if you “rap” but want to delve into singing because pitch correction allows you to, this track should serve as one of many that will soon put you all on notice: don’t. That’s all I’m gonna boom ba doom boom about that.

Press play.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.