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R&B Artist Spotlight: Jamie Woon

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Music Style: Minimalist stripped back Alternative R&B with elements of Future Garage, Neo Soul, and Electronica.

The UK has created and set forth its own brand of Alternative R&B. The style can be traced back to Jai Paul's song BTSU. This style is heavy on the electronic side, and consists of UK Bass, Future Garage, with added vocal effects. Sometimes the style also consists of Wonky, Uk Funky, or basically any form of UK electronic music. Some good examples of this are Limit to Your Love by James Blake, Two Weeks by FKA Twigs, Running by Jessie Ware, Hard Liquor by SOHN, Bad Blood by Nao, and Blood on Me by Sampha. So, one would assume that Jamie Woon's music would fit along these lines. Actually, it kind of does and doesn't at the same time. Jamie's music does have the UK Bass, Future Garage element to it but it's not like James Blake, where the electronic production is on equal footing with the R&B vocals; SOHN, where it's more electronic as opposed to R&B; or Jack Garratt, where the production is very chaotic and really in-your-face. Jamie prefers to have the electronic sound in the background in a minimal form where the acoustic sound and his vocals are front and center. If you're a Disclosure fan, you may recognize Jamie Woon from his feature on January on Disclosure's album Settle.

What is great about Jamie Woon's music is that while the electronic element is there, he can strip it down to just a simple guitar. This can be seen with the EP version and album version of Gravity. The EP version is guitar driven with an acoustic sound, while the album version is ominous, atmospheric, and contains some distortion. Jamie Woon's music also contains folk elements (Gravity [Wayfaring Stranger EP version], Celebration, Little Wonder), Jazz (Missing Person, Akileus, Message), Trip Hop (Movement, TMRW, Spiral), UK Bass and rave (Spirits), Indietronica (Gravity [Mirrorwriting Version], Secondbreath), Future Garage (Night Air, Shoulda, Middle, Echoes), Funk (Sharpness, Thunder), beat-boxing (Tolerate), and Neo Soul (Would I Lie to You, Skin, Lament). At lot of Jamie's music can be stripped down to guitar driven as seen in Golden Sun, Guilty as Charged, Sticky Grip). I see Jamie Woon as a parallel to Sampha. Both use a light element of UK Electronic music in their sound, both of their music is very instrument based (Jamie with the guitar and Sampha with the piano), and both of them can strip down their music to a sole instrument. Check out this studio version of street and compare to this live version of it.

Lyrically, Jamie's topic revolve around love and relationships. However, his lyrics have a form of introspection and mystery to them. This can be seen in this verse of Spirits.

While we have oceans
Rivers that still bring us life
Reasons to live in the moment
Hold onto your time
Let your heart go where the wind takes it
Pure like the raindrops of time
Follow the path where it takes you
Straight down the line

Also take a look at some of lyrics to Night Air.

I've acquired a taste for silence
Darkness fills my heart with calmness
And each thought like a thief is driven
To steal the night air from the heavens

Some more of his best lyrics can be seen in Blue Truth, Robots (whose lyrics are pretty apocalyptic), Gravity, and Lament. Jamie Woon's singing voice can be seen as soft and soulful. It's light enough to fit on a full electronic track like Debruit's I'm Goin' Wit' You and soulful to work on an old school sound like Thunder. Some of his best vocals can be seen on Sticky Grip, You're Not Alone, Wayfaring Stranger, Gravity [EP and Album version], Night Air, and Lady Luck.

If you want Alternative R&B with Future Garage, listen to Mirrorwriting. If you're in the mood for a stripped down lush organic sound, listen to Making Time.

Some of my favorite Jamie Woon songs. Robots, Guilty as Charged, Blue Truth, Would I Lie to You, Tolerate, Sticky Grip, Missing Person, You're not Alone, Breathing Binary, Wayfaring Stranger, Gravity [both EP and Album version], Akikeus, Night Air, Street, Lady Lucky, Shoulda, Middle, Spirits, Echoes, Spiral, TMRW, Gravity, Waterfront, Slowburning, Message, Movement, Sharpness, Forgiven, Thunder, January.

Here are some good performances: Konk Studios, Boiler Room Live Set, Live at AB - Ancienne Belgique, Live at Pukkelpop 2016

The Next R&B Artist Spotlight: Serpentwithfeet

If You use discord, make sure to check out the R&B Discord Server. If you want to be in a place to discuss R&B music. Here's a link if you're interested https://discord.gg/q4bpzJgR
*Note: This link will expire on 04/03/2021

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