Featured Photo: Sharon Jane
By: TK Quann (aka TK Wonder)
So we have quite a few female newcomers on the R&B underground scene who have unveiled Aaliyah-esque components in their music, (whether in vocals or production) however none come closer to an incarnate in vocal intonation, musical style and that throwback R&B 90’s vibe than the lovely Toronto singer Rochelle Jordan. Okay so maybe it’s her track, ‘So Good’ developed by Rochelle and her team for a song contest in which artists submitted a song to win a chance to work with Timbaland that reconfirmed that notion in this little ol’ heart of mine.
Rochelle’s ‘So Good’ has been chosen as one of five finalists for the Timbaland contest and Miss Jordan has admittedly stated in the past that she is a fan of the late singer’s work. So perhaps you think a tad bit biased in solidifying the crowning of the ‘Incarnate of Aaliyah’ title but believe me it’s purely based on this young woman’s catalog of work, and that of her producers, that create an overall authentic and genuine sound rather than a very good musical doppelganger.
So what I’m about to say next is completely ‘Lord of the Flies’ – head on a stick crazy but remember when the most imperative narrative of R&B was based on those things called vocal chords? (Sooo foreign right?) I’m not so naïve to believe that R&B has never been based on image, I mean Rochelle looks like the stunning hybrid of Elle Varner and Scary Spice, however if I were a betting woman in those days I would lose ten fold without vocal ability in the cards. I mean I love a good autotune track once in a T-Pain—808s & Heartbreak kind of moon but nary a blatant altered pitch is recognizable on Miss Jordan’s voice. “Really?!” you might add. Um, yeah, really.
Listen to ‘Playa 4 Life’ “I don’t know how to trust anymore/ and I got another guy on the floor/ that I know wouldn’t call me a hoe but you~~~/it’s a real damn shame/ cuz I’m gonna be a player for life/ Yeah I’m gonna be a player for life.”
If you’re searching for lyrics that adroitly suggest various metaphorical interpretations then Miss Jordan is not for you. However R&B has never been meant to discombobulate the listener. R&B/ soul over the decades has ostensibly always been based upon that timeless four letter word. Love. Otis Redding’s ‘Try a Little Tenderness,’ and The Supremes’s ‘Stop in the Name of Love’ to Mary J. Blige’s ‘Real Love’ and Whitney Houston’s rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You.’
Previous Photos: Sharon Jane
Okay so you won’t find Dylan and The Police-esque lyrics based on weighty social and political issues but then again the most memorable R&B songs, for the most part, have not fallen into those categories. Of course there are plenty of iconic exceptions: Bobby Womack’s ‘110th Street,’ Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,’ Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘The Bottle’ and Nina Simone’s ‘Strange Fruit’ to name a few. However the universal appeal of love and those R&B songs that steer straight into it’s calm or tumultuous waves, by far, outweighs those exceptions. Yes Rochelle’s lyrics are no exception yet this does not take away from the strength and emotional validity of her work. Not at all.
Rochelle Jordan’s new LP; ‘1021’ drops today including track, “There You Go” just released on soundcloud. She definitely has a distinct signature style that staunchly ensconces the 90’s and when delving into her collection of work, I feel as if I’m Scott Bakula’s character in some ‘Quantum Leap’ episode reliving those years all over again with Aaliyah, SWV, Jodeci and Escape at the vocal helm. I mean at any given moment on production I almost expected Timbaland to poke out and shout “boo!” or at the very least that synonymous “whaaa” in my eardrums. Any singer who invokes those indelible impressions is certainly worth the listen. Born in England, raised in Toronto and based in LA I can’t help to predict a collaboration in the near future with a very familiar Toronto bred rapper and singer who took upon the reigns of incorporating Aaliyah into one of his tracks. I’m sure you know who I’m talking about and if you don’t his name rhymes with ‘cake.’
Still not convinced? Then, lastly, I ask you to listen to her track titled ‘Lowkey.’
Now about that ‘Incarnate of Aaliyah’ title…you can’t tell me that airy alto doesn’t remind you of ‘Somebody.’
Yes. Total pun intended.
Rochelle Jordan’s new album is available here
**About the author:
I’m thrilled to be joining Urban Bush Babes as a music contributor. I will be choosing an ‘artist of the month’ as well as writing on music related topics. Most of the UBB audience knows me as Cipriana’s identical twin sister, those I’ve met in the music world know me as TK Wonder, an electronic rapper and singer, however I am also a writer. Under our father’s strict upbringing, as children and teenagers, my sister and I were forbidden to hang out with our peers outside of extracurricular activities. We were the epitome of a hermit. So thinking our life was akin to a hermit we found comfort in a creative realm of writing and drawing at a very young age. Growing up Cipriana at a very, very young age had the innate ability to draw…I mean draw anything ya’ll! I was a lover of books and began writing poetry at the age of six to penning novellas, novels and screenplays strictly for my personal enjoyment by the time I was thirteen. It wasn’t until I moved to NY I began to perform, starting off with spoken word poetry for a few years, which evolved into rapping, singing and songwriting. I currently perform and tour overseas every summer and I’m incessantly meeting new artists and hearing new music. Since the world I live in is quite musical I thought my best contributions could be music related.