“Everything you can imagine is real”
Art imitates life and sometimes it’s imitation is caught up in grand and wondrous sounds. What can only be described as neo-funk/soul is breathtaking in its return to yesteryear and simultaneously bringing a cutting edge new flavor. This is A. Billi Free.
Her music is funky, new, and desperately needed in an over-saturated market of homogenous sounds and reductive musical capabilities. Her art brings new life to contemporary music! Her music and journey are as unique as an artist's path could possibly be. She has used her art to take her to Mongolia as part of the Next Level arts organization that uses art and music as a cultural exchange between nations as a form of diplomacy. Artists are selected to take part in a two week workshop in their individual element. The end product of the two week workshop is a final show with participants from each workshop. As part of the cultural exchange they perform in the communities they are in and embassies in the country they are visiting. Some of her teammates included in her efforts in Mongolia are Skooljay, Bisu, Khulan, Badi, Batuka, Forby, Zeerd, Chinzoo, Soda, Macho, Raptosay, Marine, Aso, Mc POP, 12131, Excess, A-L, Kane, Stuntman, Michelle and her interpreter and popper Kango! Besides her international diplomatic efforts her label she recently signed to has been none other than Tokyo Dawn Records. A busy artist that not only spreads good will but also is charting in multiple countries all at once!
At the risk of sounding repetitive it bares repeating, her music is like a time machine and has elements that are reminiscent of Erykah Badu, India Arie, and a touch of Ibeyi. Not to be reductive or to pigeonhole the sound of her music one but she expands outside those artistic sounds and creates this whole new flavor that cannot be captured simplistically. The production duo who composed I Luma is known as Tensei, their sound fits A. Billi Free perfectly and makes for a classic album with wild replay value.
The layers of instrumentation in her tracks on her new album I Luma really are something to note and help explore the range A. Billi Free has! Some of her standout tracks are discussed below. Her singing on the track Flourish is soulful and it is a perfect balance to the composition. The layers of sound provide a richness/fullness and is just not something you would expect of a modern artist. The second track “Feel it Coming” is funky, fun and bouncy, it could harken back to the golden era of hip-hop/r&b but it is just too fresh feeling to really get stuck in that era’s convention. The third track “Against the Wall” is our first real introduction to her skills as an emcee rather than a vocalist. She displays an excellent cadence with an added refrain that really drives the energy and head nodding vibe of the track. “Bold Heart” is absolutely stunning and beautiful capturing the wonderful vocals of A. Billi Free and then of course balanced against a neo-soul/r&b vibe, nothing but love for this track. “Alright with Me” has a super alien vibe that is just way funky, the singing is solid throughout the entire project but this jazzy style just makes for a quintessential A. Billi Free track.
Overall the entire project is one of carefully thought out lyrics and wonderfully constructed beats and melodies. This project and artist comes highly recommended.
by: Gabriel Barrio