Occasionally, you come across an artist that it feels like you already know them. Their music, their lyrics, the way they phrase their words, the melody, the sweet conviction in their voice, it all feels like you know them. Not in a "they sound like so and so" way, but it's as if they are a close friend, or, more accurately, it's like they know your soul, you relate to them and they draw you into the story they have eloquently created. This is how I feel on hitting the "play" button on New York-based singer Amma Whatt's debut EP, Maybe.
Whatt has done the hard yards and then some in the industry, and in this world of many seeking'instant success it is refreshing to hear an artist who has been out there for years writing for other artists, singing commercial jingles, in movies, you name it, and now she has released this, a predominantly acoustic EP, which can be seen as a little taster of the full-length LP to come. After a listen to the EP, it's safe to say that, yes, the EP has fulfilled its purpose. I want the LP sometime yesterday.
Opening with the catchy, beatbox-led EP title track, Whatt is all honey-coated vocals dripping over R&B tinged, acoustic rhythms. As the Maybe continues she takes us away with her, giving the listener an insight into love, relationships, taking chances and all the complex emotions that go side-by-side with these facets of life. From the happiness (the samba-influenced "You" featuring VINX and Monet) to the fall ("Nothing Left"), and so the cycle continues. Whatt also gives us a glimpse at the writing process with "Soul Kitchen Maybe," where she collaborates with Tubby Love, showing us the raw, playful side of creating magic.
Maybe is a strong introduction to Whatt and an indication of the luscious musical offerings we can look forward to from the Howard University jazz alum. She effortlessly fuses soul, R&B, hip-hop and world music with an acoustic edge that gives us a glimpse into her soul and that is the purest gift for the listener. In this world of over-produced, slick music, sometimes it's nice just to hear something that's raw, and speaks from the heart, and having the vocal tone and stylings that Amma does certainly doesn't hurt.
Amma Whatt Maybe [Bandcamp]