Krysie: Still Single Review By Steve Topple for Pauzeradio.com.
“Autotune my a*s!” proclaimed singer/songwriter Krysie, as she premiered a live performance of her latest Afrobeats-RnB single. Not that you should be questioning whether one of the most exciting artists to emerge from Jamaica in recent years needs any digital enhancing – because she doesn’t.
Still, released via Warriors Musick Productions, sees her smooth-out the distinctive Afrobeats/Dancehall sound that she employs so well across myriad of themes (the brilliant Tomorrow being a case in point). Warriors always deliver the production goods, and Still is no exception to that rule: showcasing the label’s intuitive ear for Afrobeats-derived music.
It opens with a lonely synth balafon, performing a beamed riff. The ‘oneee-twoooooo-three-fourrr…’ rhythm is almost a tinkered with, stretched-out Dancehall clave. And interestingly, although a bass eventually comes in, it plays second fiddle to the balafon, which is central to driving the track forward. But as with all good Afrobeats-RnB, it’s not driven too much.
The percussive arrangement is pure Afrobeats, with the focus being on the upbeats and the higher kHz instruments taking the foreground, stuttering but not so as to overwhelm proceedings. Meanwhile, the strings are particularly cleverly arranged: moving from staccato, semiquaver riffs on the downbeats during the verse, to smoothed out, harmonic breves during the chorus. These accentuate Krysie’s vocal well, complimenting her when she speeds things up, and then slows them down, accordingly. And what a vocal it is.
She has an instantly recognisable voice, with a delicious ability to flex between numerous styles and sub-genres. Krysie demonstrates this well on Still, switching between a delicate, sensual vocal on the chorus and bridges to an at times half-vocal-half singjay during the verses. These see her enunciate with crystal-clear precision while fitting in an impressive level of notes and rhythms. And she has an attractive range, sitting in a comfortable mid soprano which stretches down to a high alto and up to a higher soprano. But it’s her delivery which also always impresses. There’s a raw expressiveness to her voice which cannot be taught, and it always shines through.
Her live performance of Still for Jussbuss TV, featured below, is of equal standing. You could even go as far as to say it was more impressive. She holds it down, not dropping a note, word or rhythm – which for a track with such a compositionally complex melody is no mean feat. She even drops a few ‘Jussbuss’ freestyles in for good measure.
Still is pure Afrobeats-RnB class. Cleverly arranged and produced, Krysie once again shines as a competent and compelling artist. And all without any autotune in sight. Gold dust.
Krysie Still review by Steve Topple (31st March 2020).