Photography by Colette Pomerleau
Donna Arendse, founder of Lekker Collective and A&R Manager at Majestic Casual curates a playlist of soulful tracks by – or featuring – female artists
Today heralds my return to creating my soulful, women-led playlist after an almost two year hiatus from C-Heads. The theme for this selection is warm, and soothing sounds – music which feels like a warm hug.
Listen to the previous playlists
KYRA – Cali Dreamin’
“Ethereal, divine feminine energy”
I stumbled upon London based R&B songstress through a random listening session, and I was immediately hooked by her mesmerising production and incredible vocal performances (Mariah Carey range!). Cali Dreamin* is part of her debut EP XANADU, and when writing this up it was a genuine struggle between this more accessible future RnB number, and the “bigness” of “Stampede” which she wrote about her son’s unexpected arrival and subsequent life upheaval that a baby undoubtedly causes. I invite you to delve into the entire EP here.
Ego Ella May – Tonight I’m Drowning
“A gentle caress for the troubled soul”
London songstress Ego Ella May has been a staple for me over the past few months. The lockdown life has made us all turn inward abit more than usual, and May’s music is like a gentle caress for the troubled soul. Taken from her “Honey For Wounds” album which was released earlier this year, “Tonight I’m Drowning” marries effortlessly warm, jazz infused instrumentals with honeyed vocals – and intuitive lyricism which flows like poetry.
Lila Iké – Solitude
“I ain’t in the mood, I just need some solitude”
Lila Iké brings island flair to RnB with “Solitude”, a track where a haunting, walking bass melody sets the entire melodic direction. Hailing from Jamaica and being hailed as a rising star in the local music scene, Iké brings intense honesty with “Solitude”, with her easily flowing lyrics sounding almost like a conversation, despite being packaged in a sultry, soulful package which is further driven to poignancy by the climactic violin performance. “Solitude” is taken from her debut EP The ExPerience.
The KTNA – Hope
“I’m so sorry for the person I’m supposed to be
Nobody’s more disappointed than me, than me”
Twin sisters Millie and Hope Katana (The KTNA) bring a gritty, unfiltered energy in their music. Self described as “old souls”, the pair infuse raw features of genres such as punk and rock to their heavily textured, poetry driven soul sound. Their candid exploration of themes such as mental health and depression hit close to home with any listener, and “Hope” perfectly encapsulates a real feeling of disappointment and confusion. Cinematic strings are juxtaposed with electric guitar licks; soaring, layered vocal harmonies seem at odds with injections of more colloquial language (it’s hella lit / cred), with the whole track swelling, and dying down in a cathartic ending of acoustic guitar and vocals.
Gillian Mapp – Orange Bitters
“There is genius in simplicity”
In a world where everyone now has access to production software, it isn’t often that someone has the courage to have their debut offering be stripped back and raw. Canadian artist Gillian Mapp breaks the mould with the enticing “Orange Bitters”. An RnB dream which arrives on a cloud of heavenly piano chords, the track is a gentle lull, refreshing in its simplicity and understated nature, as the multidisciplinary artist unfolds a sweet, poetic love song with nothing more than her own accompaniment on keys.
Listen to the full playlist here: bit.ly/womenandsoul