Our Best New Songs series is here to give you context on what we’re spinning each week in VMP’s On Rotation playlist — curated by VMP staff, no algorithm needed. Listen and read along below to find out why these artists should be on your radar.
Former VMP Rising artist Miya Folick is back with “Ordinary,” her second single of the year after last month’s “Oh God.” The two tracks, from a forthcoming EP, mark Folick’s first new music in four years, following 2018’s Premonitions. The visuals for the single start with Folick doing a series of ordinary activities, shopping in a thrift store and going for a walk with headphones.
In a statement about the track, Folick said, “This song is about slowing down, looking inward, taking time with the people you love. Things don’t have to be a party or a spectacle. They don’t have to be special to feel special. Rather than finding joy in rushing into things, I’m finding joy in patience, in quiet, in getting to know somebody slowly.”
Singer-songwriter Gia Margaret joins Folick on “Ordinary,” contributing piano. Margaret said in the statement, “When I first heard ‘Ordinary,’ I felt moved by its sweet melody and the direct and simple sentiment of the lyrics. The piano parts effortlessly flowed soon after my friend (Miya) asked me to lend my part. It was fun and made me feel something.”
As Margaret noted, the lyrics are simple but hard-hitting, with lines like “I take my T-shirt off / I know it’s what you want / I love your love for me / So ordinary.”
“Drive” by Pasadena singer-songwriter Fana Hues is the first single from the upcoming compilation album See You Next Year, created by Pigeons & Planes in partnership with Big.Ass.Kids. The project aims to feature “original songs from a hand-picked roster of the most exciting rising talent across genres,” according to their site.
Hues released her sophomore album, flora + fana, earlier this year, following a huge uptick in audience for the artist after she featured on “SWEET / I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE” with Brent Faiyaz on Tyler, The Creator’s CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST.
Hues said about “Drive”: “I had a glimpse of that freedom that I hope I get in this next year creatively. When I get out of my own head and just write something that just feels good, rather than over analyzing what it is and, as far as lyrics go, rhyme schemes and things like that. So ‘Drive’ was a breath of fresh air, creatively for me, because I got to just go off and do what it is that came naturally rather than sitting down and focusing a little too hard.”
There is a sense of ease to the whole track, with Hues singing, “45 on the east side / something ’bout them curves ease my mind / Sunset sugar, ooh, that’s my delight / for the night.”
New York City rapper and producer ELUCID — best known as half of Armand Hammer alongside billy woods — has released his third solo album, I Told Bessie. The album is dedicated to his grandmother, the titular Bessie Hall, according to a press release, who was “a powerful presence in his life until she passed away in 2017.” In the release, ELUCID said, “I remember her silver afro like a halo atop her head. I remember the Westerns that were always on television in the living room. I remember. I remember her pouring early ideals of Black consciousness into me. I remember the stories and lore.”
ELUCID added, “I was staying with Bessie in Crown Heights, still early in my music journey — probably leading through the Progress mixtape and up to the Smash & Grab days — and she’d hear me scream rap into a closet at all hours of the day and night. We would read the newspaper and talk shit about Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD. It was a pivotal time in my life and she was an important part of that, even just by letting me live there.”
The first track on the record, “Spelling,” is accompanied by visuals that are directed, edited and animated by Nelson Bandela. The song begins with an intro from Joy James, who says, “Like, what’s the exit plan? Like, you’re not gonna leave your community behind. And you’re not gonna stop helping and nurturing and healing … Like, it’s an impossible task, but it’s one completely worthy of you.”
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