A quick ink drawing on paper of singer songwriter Amber Mark. I’m new to Amber but I love her song “Competition” and “Love me right”. I don’t know much about her backstory but it sounds like she spent time in the US and Europe. Support her music here.
Whats this? This is a series of portraits I started several years ago for fun practice. I draw or paint portraits of Soul musicians I like. The last one was of Fatima from Sweden. Check it outhere
This artist is one of my favorite soul musicians beginning to get her just due. Raveena is a singer songwriter from NYC via Connecticut. She grew up hearing her family members sing old Bollywood songs and its hopeful to hear about some of her early influences from D’Angelo, Sade, to Taylor Swift. She started writing music in her early teens and later attended school for music at New York’s famous Tisch school of the Arts. She released her first EP “Where We Wander” in 2013 while still a student there. She would go on to release other projects such as “Shanti”, the LP “Lucid”, and the new EP “Moonstone”. The song that caught my attention first was “sweet time” and I can remember my friends Franklin and Lara playing her music in a long car ride.
Raveena’s music to me is super soulful, beautifully produced (shout out to Everett Orr), very original in its lyrics, and sonically colorful with all its beautiful melodies and chords. She is very smooth, gentle, and soft spoken but I don’t imagine she’ll always be that way. With a strong fashion sense, a keen eye for directing videos that feel fresh I look forward to seeing a long career for Raveena Aurora who has already been working at it for almost a decade. What else? She is from a supportive Sikh, northern Indian family. She is queer. She sings about spirituality, pleasure, love, abuse, and definitely gives a fuck about justice. Give her music a listen. And when this pandemic is over go see her live! Oh and she was featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk, go watch that.
My wife turned me onto singer songwriter Yuna Zarai in 2012. I’d never heard of her before but immediately liked what I heard. We’ve seen Yuna perform live in San Francisco twice. Her live show is great and we met her (She’s super nice and just as pretty in person). Yuna has a soulful voice with some rock and folk sensibilities mixed in.
Based in the LA for the past decade or so Yuna is originally from Malaysia and started writing and singing her own songs at 14. She began releasing her music on Myspace in the late 2000’s and got into the indy music scene in Malaysia before making that move to the US. She has released four English albums and some records in Malay (Her native language). You can tell by how she moves that she has a good business sense and a great team behind her. She is shy but very good at documenting her work and staying connected with fans. She has a unique fashion sense and has her own clothing line called “Hatta Yuna” with designer Hatta Dolmat which includes Tudung’s (Jihab’s). She designs jewelry, and has worked with a lot of artists from the US to Malaysia such as DJ Premier, Quadron, Jhene Aiko, Little Simz, Aizat Amdan, Jaelyn Victor, Elizabeth Tan, Pharrell, Tyler The Creator, and Usher.
While folks back home and the US were hung up on her head scarf she developed a talent for straddling to worlds as a musician and a creative person. And she started a company to help manage up and coming Malay artists. Look out for her on the covers of magazines, the charts, follow her, and listen to her sound. Oh and watch her tour videos, they’re funny. And I added her to this Asian American focus of music because she’s been here for damn near 10 years and she fits in for me and my list.
Sources: Generation T Asia, Aramco World, The Apt w/ Asif & Baluch, Wikipedia
Fav Song: Best Love
Did you catch the painting I did of Amerie? or of producer Mndsgn?
Amerie (Amerie Rogers) is an artist from Washington DC. Born in 1980 and raised all over the US and she first came into most folks conscious with a song called “Why don’t we fall in love”. Some people found her sound with her hit “1 Thing”. After falling in love with her voice and her first few songs, I immediately wondered if she was both Black and Asian. And to my delight she was African American and Korean! Amerie is an incredible musician whose voice and style adapts, changes, and progresses. As a musician she has released 5 studio albums and collaborated with countless artists. But most recently she has also shown a love for books, reviewing them and talking about them on Youtube. Not only that, she has recently edited an anthology of heavy hitters and new comers in the literary world. Still working, you can find her giving tutorials on make up, style, and releasing new music.
Yes, the brother is both African American and Korean (Seoul). Anderson Paak has been singing and plying drums for a long time and if you’ve seen the live performance you know he is talented. His most recent single “Am I wrong” was like a breath of fresh air to soul music whether it be slow or with a faster house bass. I appreciate the composition of the music and the character of his lyrics are not cookie cutter R&B. Paak has been getting more well deserved attention after working with the likes of Dr. Dre on the Compton LP and Knxledge as one half of Nx Worries. But he began working with brother Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra back in 2011 and has been putting out projects steadily. With four solo studio albums, multiple singles and collaborations he is someone to keep your eye out for. Not only for his style, confidence, great album art design, but for his musicianship.