Summer Walker enters her ‘soft life’ era via her new EP ‘Clear 2,’ Queen Naija is practicing her “Words Of Affirmation,” Kevin Ross discovers his ‘Midnight Microdose,’ and Thuy argues ‘Girl’s Like Me Don’t Cry’ on her deluxe album.
American Idol made history by crowning their first native Hawaiian winner in singer Iam Tongi. Before that, Grammy Award-winner singer Jazmine Sullivan made her debut on the series by performing alongside another contestant. Another notable first this week included Coco Jones securing her first Billboard No. 1 single with “ICE.” As for news regarding the genre’s legends, Usher will make his grand appearance at the 2023 Roots Picnic due to Diddy pulling out from his co-headlining obligations.
As for fresh music releases this week, there were a plethora of new singles, EPs, and albums shared across digital streaming platforms. This week’s Fresh Finds Fridays selections feature Summer Walker, Queen Naija, Kevin Ross, Maeta, Thuy, BLK ODYSSY, and Jhonni Blaze. Then, in the comment section, let us know what new releases you’re listening to.
Summer Walker – Clear 2: Soft Life EP
Summer Walker is entering a new era in her life. Professionally, she’s looking to work on her stage presence, enlisting the help of Teyana Taylor as her creative director. As for her music, she’s letting fans in on her new perspective on life.
Walker’s EP Clear 2: Soft Life is an examination of the vicious cycle of emotional neglect she’s found herself in. With guest vocal appearances by J. Cole and Childish Gambino, with production from Solange, Steve Lacy, and John Kirby, Walker acknowledges her role in her past failed relationship while declaring that she’s “lived and learned” from those experiences. The project is arguably one of her most vulnerable to date.
Queen Naija – “Words Of Affirmation”
Love languages are all the talk across the relationship sector of social media. In her new single, “Words Of Affirmation,” Queen Naija demonstrates just how powerful these love practices are. The track produced by Mike Woods highlights the power words have over the mind.
As Naija sings, “I’ma need a little more than you bein’ present / I need a little more than you just givin’ me presents / I need communication, affirmations, appreciation,” the musician sets her romantic standard.
During an appearance on Revolt TV, she opened up about the inspiration behind the track. “When I first heard the beat [for the record], it was very soulful. And I wanted to make a soulful record. I didn’t want to make it about cheating. I didn’t want to make it about a man or anything. I really want to make [the record] about demanding how you want to be loved.”
Kevin Ross – Midnight Microdose, Vol. 1 EP
Kevin Ross has delivered five-course meals by way of his past full-length releases. However, on his new EP Midnight Microdose, Vol. 1, the singer is delivering a sample of what’s to come later. In just under 15 minutes, Ross put his vocal, production, and songwriting abilities on full display.
Ahead of the project being made available across streaming platforms, Ross shared singles “First Dose,” “Show and Prove,” and “Look My Way.” As the first part of the musician series, Vol. 1 sets the sultry tone.
In a statement, Ross spoke about the project’s length saying, “‘I am always told how short my songs are, so I decided to play into that by creating a project with this theme.” While Midnight Microdose, Vol. 1 is depressingly short, duration is the only area in which it lacks. Ross’ butterfly smooth vocals, sexy songwriting, and sharp production ear all pierce through.
Thuy – Girls Like Me Don’t Cry (Deluxe)
Thuy first declared her resilience on the album, Girls Like Me Don’t Cry. Now, doubling back for the deluxe version, that strength is still a dominating force. Featuring appearances by RINI, Lexx Life Raj, and MIN, the 11-track project is centered around the art of vulnerability.
When the project was initially released back in 2022, Thuy shared why the concept meant so much to her. In a statement, Thuy said, “It was important to showcase these women in their element in hopes that other people can see themselves in these women and hopefully find strength through that. Even the strongest people cry,” adding, “And it’s not a sign of weakness and that’s essentially what I’m trying to say through the song.”
Thuy is one of the most promising new acts to pay close attention to.
Maeta – “Through The Night” feat. Free Nationals
Maeta’s blossoming career is heavily due to the amount of effort she puts into her work. There’s a reason why the singer was able to land tracks co-written by James Fauntleroy, Lucky Daye, SZA, The Dream, and more on her upcoming album When I Hear Your Name.
Featured on the album “Through The Night,” featuring Free Nationals, is just one example of her memorizing talent. In the song, the musician shows that she’s not too proud to beg for the affection of her potential suitor.
Singing “Take time to catch a vibe with you / Take me up, love me deep / Make me weak with all of your mind / Oh, you know that love don’t come easy / How do I know that you’ll never leave me?/ Can you go for milеs? / Feeling some things I ain’t felt in a while / I think you should try / Try to blow my mind,” Maeta doesn’t care if she comes off as desperate. The singer is verbalizing exactly what she wants.
On Instagram, “I went on a trip to an island to escape a complicated ass love, and this song was bloomed,” adding, “[my fans] have threatened my life for almost a year over this song, so I want all the streams when it’s out LOL.”
BLK ODYSSY – “You Gotta Man” feat. Kirby
Love is a beautiful thing, but what happens when you aren’t entangled with someone that’s already spoken for? Blk Odyssy’s new single “You Gotta Man,” featuring Kirby, explores this dilemma further. Co-produced by Tave, the track pulls you into the lustful trance the musicians are trapped in.
The addictive nature of this imaginary relationship bleeds into the song’s production as Odyssy sings, “Okay, I want you to myself, but I don’t think that’s right for me / Your body takes me places give me a taste of ecstasy – she / Got me overthinking wish my thoughts would rest in peace / Can’t resist your body when you grind on next to me.”
Slated to appear on his forthcoming project, Diamonds & Freaks, due out in June, Blk Odyssy has delivered a dopamine hit you just can’t shake.
Jhonni Blaze – “Don’t Fall Out Of Love feat. Ne-Yo
Jhonni Blaze has kept her head down to focus on her craft. The former reality television star oozes music talent, and her latest single, “Don’t Fall Out Of Love,” is a product of all of that hard work.
The track, which features Grammy Award-winning musician Ne-Yo, is all about refusing to let your lover give up on you regardless of the circumstances you two are in. Love is messy, but Blaze is willing to make it work if her partner gives her another chance as she sings, “I’m damaged, but I just can’t let you go.”
The songwriter took to Instagram to thank her collaborator for believing in her as well as the track. Blaze captioned the video snippet in the recording studio, “Listen to a legend. Don’t over-talk a legend. Don’t think you know more than a legend or the guidance they’re giving you! Embrace the criticism. Embrace the knowledge a legend gives you. Listen to understand a legend. This session, the moment I walked in I knew it was a hit! Thank you, Ne-Yo. The illest thing you said to me, ‘All you need is someone to really co-sign you in this R&B…don’t worry I got you.’“
*Post photo credit:Brandon ‘B Dot’ Wilkins