R&B / Soul: Summer 2023

Monarch R&B/Soul Recommendations

To Love in the 21st Century

Classically trained musician, unpredictable vocal dynamo, and fearless genre-breaker Lyn Lapid asserts herself as an individual through and through. At 20 years old, the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist has unassumingly emerged as an unapologetic and undeniable voice for her generation. Inspired by Gen Z rom-coms like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Summer I Turned Pretty, the narrative behind the ten-track project follows Lyn over the course of a relationship while falling in and out of love for the first time. The EP captures the vulnerable emotions during the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship, allowing listeners to relate to the all-too-familiar feelings of a first love. to love in the 21st century also includes Lyn’s latest singles, “poster boy” and “ok with it,” as well as her new single “the alternative,” which has quickly gained traction with fans as Lyn performs it live every night on her “to love in the 21st century” tour.


South African singer and songwriter Lloyiso debuts his new EP, “Seasons.” The seven-track project, which features production from Earwulf, Grammy award-winning producers Mr. Hudson (John Legend, Janelle Monae, Jay-Z), and Stargate (Beyoncé, Rihanna, Sam Smith), spotlights every side of this dynamic talent. His vocal virtuosity shines through the tender highlight, “Give a Little Kindness,” and pensive rumination of “Where Do We Go (When We Need Love).” At the same time, he leans into raw emotion on the likes of “Lonely Without You,” where his voice connects right to the heart. Ultimately, he examines the cyclical nature of love and life across Seasons, expressing myriad feelings and delivering one powerhouse performance after another in the process. Lloyiso, who has co-signs from celebs like Zane Lowe, Justin Bieber, Mike Posner, and more, paved the way for Seasons with the single, “Run.” OkayAfrica hailed it as one of “The Best South African Songs Out Right Now.”


Platinum-selling, Phoenix-raised, and Los Angeles-based artist and R&B’s foremost femme fatale, Kiana Ledé proudly presents her anxiously awaited new album, Grudges. A journey through heartbreak, lust, sex, pain, and transformation, it finds Kiana at her most vulnerable, vibrant, and vital all at once. She opens up like never before over an ever-evolving sonic backdrop, dripping with bedroom-ready R&B vibes, smoked-out alternative experimentation, and subversive pop appeal. She invited a few friends along for the ride as Bryson Tiller turns up on “Gone” and Khalid lends his instantly recognizable vocals to “Where You Go.” Piano underlines the uplifting title track “Grudges” (featuring Kiki & Friends). The Friends elevate this track even higher thanks to the collective power of Kyle DionJoyce WriceSinéad Harnett, and Destin Conrad. From the scene-setting opener, “Bitch Bitch (INTROlude),” to the beguiling and bewitching finale, “Magic,” these 17 tracks represent her most unfiltered, unbreakable, and undeniable vision thus far.


Twenty-year-old Connecticut-born, singer-songwriter and introspective storyteller Jake Minch unveils his debut single, “handgun.” Jake teamed up with fellow singer-songwriter Jeremy Zucker, who produced the track. When Jake initially teased the song online, it racked up over 1.3 million views in addition to earning support from Noah Kahan, Lizzy McAlpine, Gracie Abrams, Fletcher, and many more. The track’s stark acoustic guitar complements his raw delivery. The song is a collection of stories and life contemplations from Jake—from spilling White Claw on a crush to lightly strummed chords uplifting a series of questions on the chorus: “Who gives a kid a handgun? Who gives a kid to a mom who doesn’t want one? Who let that kid fall in love?” It culminates with a cogent final word: “The worst part of growing up is learning how young you are.” The lyric video focuses on a stationary shot of Jake as he packs his bag to leave home before loading up the car to take off on a road trip. It sets the stage for more music coming from Jake Minch very soon.

Playing Robots Into Heaven

Playing Robots Into Heaven follows the critically acclaimed Friends That Break Your Heart. Returning to his electronic roots, the album also points to his latest creation, the CMYK event series with Ronda INTL. For the past year, all of the CMYK events have sold out within minutes. This is no surprise with appearances from guests like The Ragga Twins, Steve Lacy, Channel Tres, and HAii. With the release of Playing Robots Into Heaven, Blake’s international tour of the same name visits the UK, Europe, and North America after kicking off at the Fabrique in