- Five Films to Watch About Stonewall … Besides Stonewall - 29 September, 2015
- Symphony: An interview with Raymond Yiu - 25 August, 2015
- Raymond Yiu’s Symphony to debut at BBC Proms - 12 August, 2015
In a musical landscape filled with too much overly auto-tuned and otherwise formulaic music, it is refreshing to hear raw talent. This is especially true for R&B music, which in my opinion, has generally been struggling to carve out an identity for itself since the decade began. So, this short but sweet EP titled Named on a Tuesday by theSophant is a welcome alternative to what you’ll often find on the radio.
The second EP in a series of seven, Named on a Tuesday tells the story of theSophant as he embarks on the path to mastering his current roles in life: an artist, a teacher, and a father. The Haitian-born and Philadelphia-based composer, singer, and pianist uses these songs and interludes to tell the audience his apprehensions and ambitions in each of these three areas – with help from some of his friends.
The EP opens with a showcase of theSophant’s piano skills on ‘Ambivalence’ while getting vocal assistance from Josiah Wise is the Serpent with Feet. After this song comes the first interlude featuring Tatyana Falalizadeh, who takes a moment to talk about Saturn’s Return and the changes she’s experienced during this time period in her late 20s.
This leads seamlessly into ‘Fly Like an Eagle (Margel the Sophant Remake)’ which is by far the EP’s strongest moment. On this track, listeners get a taste of all three of theSophant’s skills. The song opens with him lacing the track with his buttery vocals over a jazzy piano melody. About two minutes into the song, the beat drops and the choir begins singing, which helps the listener feel his sense of fear and urgency for the people he wants to reach. This is further supported when he starts the second verse with lines such as:
‘Feed the babies who don’t have enough to eat/See the children with no shoes on their feet/And house the people living on the streets/What we need, a revolution/I want to fly!’
At the end of the song, he talks about the importance of taking the time to cherish the ones you love, which would have been more appropriate as an interlude later on the project. However, it does not negatively affect the song, since most listeners will still be coming off the high from the vocals they just heard.
‘Vibrate Higher Remix Feat. Donwill (theSophant+NorvisJr Remix)’ finds Donwill of Tanya Morgan spitting lyrics about taking the negative with the positive and how you have to think positive if you want everything to work out. The next track finds theSophant taking a backseat again as fellow Sela member, David Little, raps over a busy, afrofuturist beat that sometimes drowns him out.
From here, we transition from theSophant’s role as a teacher into his role as a father. Listeners get to hear the rapper and his daughter trade ‘I love yous’ on the aptly titled ‘Raine, I Love You’. This leads right into the ‘Milky Way Interlude’. Here theSophant shows off his skills as a singer again as he shows his vulnerabilities, and sings prayers to the angels to watch over first his daughter and then himself.
The EP then closes with Alysha Wise talking about the unifying effect of love over more piano melodies.
All in all, Named on a Tuesday is a short but endearing piece of work that is widely relatable, as most people have experienced the pressure and anxiety that comes with trying to be the best you can be in whichever role you may find yourself in.
The EP is at its best when theSophant sings, and I would also have to add that the rarity of his singing is actually something that holds this EP back. As a listener, when you see someone’s name on a project, you expect to hear them singing throughout. However, theSophant only uses two tracks to show the listeners his vocal capabilities.
One has to wonder how much greater this EP would have been if he didn’t take as many backseats to let featured guests shine on his music. I hope this changes, because listeners will quickly see theSophant as an artist to watch in the future if it does. I could understand putting in so many features if an artist did not have great vocal ability. However, theSophant’s voice is exquisite and soulful – which is not easy to find in many of today’s artist, and that is a talent that should not be hidden or shortchanged.
I highly encourage everyone to give this EP a listen. It is a short project, but it’s from an artist who you will quickly see has a lot of potential to be a great artist.
You can find the EP on his Bandcamp page.