What: Modern UK soul
Why: Etta Bond is a Cambridge-born London-based singer who has been on the tips of many tongues over the past five years since the release of her 2013 debut album, Meds. A singer at home with the classic soul of Jill Scott and Etta James, Bond has found that UK music has moved closer in step with her modern R&B sound in recent years, as grime, rap and soul have begun to dominant the mainstream.
Her early collaborations trailed that crossover with features on tracks from Labrinth, Wretch 32, Skepta, Ghostpoet and Plan B. With the recent success of R&B acts such as Jorja Smith, Mahalia and Ray BLK, the time was right for Etta to push her solo music, made with producer Raf Riley.
Last month she released a two-part album (the done thing in 2019, it seems) called He’s Not Mine/He’s Mine and finds her pushing her sonic boundaries into singular territory
There are themes of self-care and self-love alongside productions that lean into soft head-nodding electronic R&B. Bond’s music is smooth and soothes the soul. See her live at The Sound House in Dublin tonight.
YOU HAVE TO HEAR THIS...
Rosalía & J Balvin – Con Altura
Spain's biggest breakthrough artist of the past couple of years has diverted the significant attention on her modern flamenco R&B album El Mal Querer to reggaeton, a Latin genre she has long loved. The genre's persistent dembow beat is present and, as this is Rosalía, so too is fusion with her beloved flamenco, salsa and Cuban rhythm. It's all wrapped in a succinct pop package that is already making this song a global crossover hit.
Elkin – Green Eyes
Dublin duo Ellen O'Mahony and Carla Ryan have cultivated a sophisticated pop sound on latest single Green Eyes. It features production by Daniel McIntyre (Lullahush, Æ MAK), and is about having a partner more interested in the high life than being in the present. "Wipe that off your tongue / Blow your nose / and call your mother," they offer in response in the song's catchy chorus.