Liner Notes: UK’s Elmiene Is Ushering In the Next Generation of R&B With His Own Discernment

When it comes to R&B, the UK is at a bubbling point that’s overflowing and gaining traction across the music front. Whether inspired by the country’s moody gray skies or a reflective movement taking place “across the pond,” artists in this lane are rising up the charts at an impressive pace. Specifically, Oxford, England-born singer Elmiene is a vanguard ushering in the next phase of this ever-changing artistic terrain.

True to the genre’s nature, the most renowned voices in the R&B space take note of external influences and manifest them outward with ethereal sonic creations that redefine the territory. Currently, in his twenties, the promising Def Jam signee carries a perspective on music and his own artistry that is far beyond his years. Between the richness of his tone that glazes over you like a sunny autumn afternoon or the bold yet assuring reverberance of his vibrato, Elmiene’s persona can’t help but remind you of something—or someone familiar. A young D’Angelo mixed with a touch of Donny Hathaway and Maxwell, perhaps? Whatever it is, Elmiene is undeniably destined for great eminence, but it is his conviction that guides his path and sets him apart.

Image: courtesy of Universal Music Group

In addition to his entrée into the R&B ecosphere, he has been steadily laying the foundation for success with covers of Anthony Hamilton’s “Charlene,” Donell Jones’ “Where I Wanna Be” and Silk’s “Meeting in My Bedroom” that fervently showcase his depth and agility as a singer. However, the first song that he ever wrote served as an ode of homage during the late Virgil Abloh’s tribute fashion show last year. This coveted introduction sparked an influx of tracks and opportunities that simultaneously exposed his talent even more to the world.

In March of this year, he released a five-track EP titled El-Mean with songs that he has performed on Later…With Jools Holland and COLORS. When asked about his headspace when crafting songs like his recent banger “Mad At Fire” or the soothing ballad “Mama,” Elmiene shared that he has found great inspiration in the 90s blueprint of male artists who could make even the most hurtful violations sound like a blissful affair with the right melody.

“I always love the kind of topics they used to talk about in 90s R&B. They’re all very toxic, but then it sounds so beautiful and very orange. Like in Joe’s “All the Things (Your Man Won’t Do),” he’s literally talking about stealing some guy’s girl at their weakest moment and being like, “well, I can do it better.”  It’s so beautiful, though,” he explained.

Image: courtesy of Universal Music Group

Ahead of a forthcoming project and a mini tour with several North American dates this fall, Elmiene brings us further into the light of his creativity along with a curated playlist of songs that inspire and keep him lifted:  

The first song that I wrote was “Golden”­– that was something else. It was very much like a Stevie Wonder and Craig David-inspired track. It was definitely a moment where it all kind of clicked for me. One of the biggest problems I had when I came into making music was that I realized that yes, I write poetry already, but how do I write songs?  “Golden” was my first chance to tackle the issue and I think it worked out pretty well.

It just felt like the biggest sign from God that said, “this is good. You know what you’re doing, you’re on the right track. You can keep it moving. Trust your instincts.” I think the biggest lesson that [writing “Golden”] taught me was that whenever I feel like something’s good, most of the time, it is— for me. I learned to trust that process and never allow too many outside factors to affect it or stray away from what I create.

Having “Golden” played at Virgil Abloh’s tribute show was an incredible coincidence. I encountered really important people who put me in the right place to share my voice with the right people.

My creative process hasn’t really changed much since then. If anything, it just became more unhinged, I suppose. The more I write songs that work or the more I get to trust my own gut, my instincts go wilder and wilder. If I feel good about that, then surely the execution will be correct. Now, much of my process is coming up with whatever fancy emotion or phrase I really want to get into and describe and then just go as hard as I can to craft an insane melody. My creative fever is getting crazy, and I hope that there’s not an end to it.  So far, I’m enjoying the ride.


A Curated Playlist of Songs That Keep Elmiene Inspired

1. Bee Gees, “How Deep Is Your Love”

2. Lewis Taylor, “Lucky”

3. Beyoncé, “Dangerously in Love”

4. Jeff Buckley, “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over”

5. Hall & Oates, “Sarah Smile”

6. Prince, “Adore”

7. Prince, “17 Days”

8. Stevie Wonder, “Love’s in Need of Love Today”

9. Donny Hathaway, “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”

10.D’Angelo and The Vanguard, “Prayer”

The post Liner Notes: UK’s Elmiene Is Ushering In the Next Generation of R&B With His Own Discernment appeared first on EBONY.

Updated: August 24, 2023 — 12:01 pm