The 22 year old R&B artist, Kiana Ledé, shows us how to stay resilient and have a “Bouncin” time in the face of adversity with her EP, Myself.
I can feel the music in my chest, not just because of the bass which is rocking my entire body but because of the lyrics which make my heart swell and ache simultaneously. And I know, Kiana Ledé is raw musical talent. Listening to her EP, Myself, which was released on June 7, I feel as though the emotions with which she sings become my own. I’ve had the album on repeat since its drop, and each time I listen through, I still find myself baffled by the incredible skills the 22 year old displays. I am trying to understand how these 18 minutes of music encapsulate more than twice as many years of wisdom, heartache, and growth. Even so, Ledé remains lighthearted and hopeful.
Despite Ledé’s young age, the R&B singer is no novice to the entertainment industry. She released her first EP a year ago, after starring in the popular show Scream, and the strides she’s taken in lyricism and musical composition are by no means unnoticed. Ledé’s music is full of graceful falsettos as she displays her wide vocal range. Moreover, she’s honest with herself and her listeners in an age where the anonymity of social media and the attractiveness of emotional detachment makes being so especially difficult. “Can I” is the most explicit example of Ledé’s willing vulnerability. She sings out “I would like to see you, can I?” before retreating into a refrain of self doubt “Maybe I’m out of line.” These themes of self-awareness, insecurity, anxiety, hope, youthfulness, and wonder saturate her music. “Heavy,” which features a voiceover of Jenifer Lewis providing poignant relationship advice, encapsulates the singer’s struggles with anxiety as a young person navigating the world. “Cause something feels like it’s weighing me down, yeah/it takes control, turns my faith into doubt.”
Her sound is young and fun without being immature, witty and fresh without seeming inexperienced. All the while, she stays true to herself. She personally writes the majority of her songs in collaboration with a few others maintaining authorship of her laid-back sound. Her album is riddled with palatable lines of self discovery and mutual understanding. “I need to figure out what I want,” she sings in “Shawty,” “I wanna try ‘til I’ve had enough.”
Comparing Ledé to her contemporary peers is incredibly difficult if not impossible. Her style is situated at the intersection of R&B and elements of modern pop. She makes music to dance to, to vibe to. Her music is the sun roof open on a car as my friends and I drive down the highway. I can maintain this vision even while watching Lede’s own portrayals of her music. Her music video for “Bouncin’” which features Offset on the track is as fun a visual as it is a sound. The color scheme of light blues and hazy orange lights, an array of backup dancers, the flirting between Ledé and the audience she sees through the camera, all contribute to the distinctly upbeat jam of the EP. She’s blunt: “I’m used to getting what I want/I like it my way” before expertly fading “left, right, left, right” between headphones in a way which displays her intentional choices within her composition. The artistic decision catches the listener off guard as a way to effortlessly ensure active engagement.
She slows down and opts for a beat that resembles R&B from the late 90s and early 2000s with “If You Hate Me” highlighting her genre bending versatility. The album comes to an ultimate swell as it concludes with the oldest release on the track, “EX.” The six songs on the EP are evidently just a taste of all that Kiana Ledé has to offer. If her current trajectory is any indicator, she’s on track to continue her immense success and has me looking forward to her next drop.