With new projects on the way from some of our biggest artists, 2019 looks set to be an exciting year in music. Here are a just a few of the names whose music I’m most looking forward to.
In the summer of 2018 Janet released Made For Now, her first single since 2016’s Dammn Baby. The song’s production pulled inspiration from Afrobeat, Reggaeton and Pop music, all coming together to create one harmonious blend – something Janet has been encouraging the world’s people to do for decades now. Whilst Janet’s tone is so distinctive that you can never be unsure of who you’re listening to, the song did mark a change in production style for the singer, and it was this change that has left me so excited for her new project.
Harmony Samuels who produced Made For Now was interviewed for Billboard last year and when questioned about the type of music on Janet’s next project (which he referred to as an EP) he stated: “She does have some classic R&B, but some other stuff that’s grungy where you’ll be like, woo! What vibe is that? Kind of George Michael-esque.”
Whilst promoting Made For Now, Janet announced she would be releasing a new “project” (she was careful not to say album) in the Fall of 2018. Well Fall came and went and nothing was released nor even mentioned regarding new music. One can only hope that after the success of Made For Now, Janet has opted to record an entire album as opposed to an EP of just 5 or 6 songs and that is what has caused this silence from her.
And one is hoping.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Madonna’s last album Rebel Heart. For me it was too long and the few really great tracks ended up lost amongst the mediocrity of others. I also think we’re so used to Madonna switching things up stylistically for each new album that this felt too similar to its predecessor. Yes the production was a little harder, a little more progressive, but a few songs from Rebel Heart felt like MDNA leftovers and as a fan I was disappointed not to hear more growth.
For Madonna’s next project I would love to see her truly switch up her sound again, after all, Madonna is the queen of reinvention right? But having dominated music for three and a half decades and covered so much ground musically, what ground is left to cover? According to Madonna that ground is Portuguese Fado. An interesting choice but not unsurprising seeing as Madonna spends most of her time living in Portugal now. How literal she will be in using the genre in her upcoming project remains to be seen, but either way, I can’t wait to hear what she has in store for us because bitch, she’s Madonna.
Yes, Brandy is a legend. Whilst indisputably not as big a star as Janet or Madonna, Brandy has been in the industry for 25 years and sold over 30 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling female artists of all time. Her creativity, artistry and vocal ability will not be slept on during my watch. No ma’am.
It’s been a long six years since Brandy put out her last album, 2012’s Two Eleven. During this hiatus, Brandy has appeared on Broadway, starred in the Lee Daniels created TV show Star and and appeared as a featured artists on tracks by Jessie J, Chris Brown, India Arie, Drake and others. More importantly however, during this time Brandy faced – and has since settled – a legal battle with her former record label Chameleon Entertainment. The lawsuit prevented B-Rocka from releasing new music but that does not mean the fan-proclaimed Vocal Bible has not been hard at work in the studio.
If you follow Brandy’s social media accounts you may well have heard the clips sporadically posted over the last few years. It would appear Brandy has not shied away from the current trend of trap inspired R&B, but unlike her peer Kelly Rowland whose most recent single Kelly is straight up trap music, Brandy’s signature vocal production that we know and love still sounds in tact and suggests she may not be veering too far from her R&B roots. Phew!
Of course this is all conjecture as who knows whether the songs heard so far will even make the final album. Either way,
with the exception of Human, Brandy has ALWAYS pushed the boundaries creatively and given us something fresh and progressive. So, much in the same way that I unreservedly trust the guy who has been cutting my hair for 5 years to do a great job, I feel the same way about Brandy, and if Brandy wants to use influences of trap or rock or folk or christian jazz on her new album, I’m here for it.