We Plug To You... Iyadede - The Demo
Reviewed by TemiY
Sipping on a vanilla latte one beautiful morning just after downloading The Demo by an artist by the name of Iyadede; at first I was taken aback by the rather long track listing - 29 tracks - but somehow I summoned the courage to press play.
The girl who fell to earth, that girl from Africa or simply put Iyadede is a singer/songwriter whose life’s journey has transitioned itself into her music. Born Sabrina Iyadede, she was raised in Kigali, Rwanda but due to the genocide that escalated in the country in 1994, she relocated to Belgium then France and now is a resident of Brooklyn, New York. Music has always been a part of her even before birth as while pregnant with Iyadede, her mother worked as a DJ at a Rwandan radio station - a time that has left an imprint on Iyadede’s eclectic sound. In her own words, “the perfect pitch when you are a multicultural inter-continental animal like myself is a schizophrenic exercise”.
Call it Afri-Pop, Afro-Punk, Soul or Electronica, either way Iyadede’s music knows no boundaries... The Demo isn’t Iyadede’s first project either; she released an album Talking to God - her first - in May 2010 but alas, we digress somewhat. Without further ado, let us delve into the world of this aspiring singer/songwriter with melodies that embrace her roots from the motherland - by way of The Demo.
The first song I plug to you from the LP is "Not The Same". This track has a throwback appeal to it and in Iyadede’s words, "talks about love". On this record, she states that the time lapse in a relationship changes things and could potentially create a rift. The imaginary distance could also mean someone else is in the mix or they just aren’t the same people they were when they met. After looking up Iyadede on numerous music blogs, I can immediately see her playful personality translated into the lyrics on this song. The Eighties sounding synths accompanied by a bass groove used on the track is also perfect fit to introducing her sound.
"Not The Same":
If you had your music player on shuffle, this next track "Burnstone and Fire" could easily be mistaken for one sung by a certain Janelle Monáe. Iyadede’s eclectic creativity resounds on this socially conscious song; one she points out is about politics. She speaks metaphorically about occasions of being oppressed that you wonder if she's speaking from experience growing up in Rwanda. Regardless, she shows a great level of vocal skill on this up-tempo song backed by drum kick arrangements which sees the NY-based singer switch up her lyrical delivery.
"Burnstone and Fire":
The final track "Lets Stay Together (2011)" samples the classic Al Green song of the same title and I can confidently say Iyadede does the song justice. Apart from a few lyrics that are lifted off the original, Iyadede’s take is a breath of fresh air to the already acclaimed hit. The instrumentals fuse sultry jazz with R&B and makes for a classic Soul sound. I would love to hear her perform this live as I can imagine such melodic structures and arrangements would sound even ten times better live. The inclusion of a spoken word interlude was greatly written and executed too, adding to the beauty of Iyadede's remake.
"Lets Stay Together (2011)":
Many other standout tracks exist on this LP that deciding which three to share with you was quite tasking. At this point, I should let you in on a little secret - the album has only 14 full songs plus an additional bonus track. The other 14 listed "tracks" are just short interludes to each song so do not be put off. What drew me to one particular standout track - "Pretend You Are A Square" - however was the instrumental arranged and produced by Iyadede herself. On the first listen, I noticed something sounded too familiar then it occurred to me that it samples loops from Apple’s Garage Band application. Makes sense as this application is usually the starting point for most starter and/or emerging producers and this song is Iyadede’s first attempt at producing so kudos to her. Besides that, I find the song title quite interesting and unusual and Iyadede’s definition of it entails not being afraid to be whoever you want to be.
"Mfura Yange" is a track sung in Iyadede’s native language Kinyarwanda, which talks about her sister and eloquently brings out the Afro-pop side of the whole demo. I like the softly used instrumentals backing her vocals on the song and even without an understanding of the lyrics; there is a sense of a heartfelt delivery from Iyadede.
I was very happy to review her album as her eclectic sound is one I had been missing in my collection for a while. Sure enough I’ll definitely be looking to see if she’s got any tours coming up around my way. If you’re in the mood for some refreshing, laid-back meaningful music, I suggest you pick this one up and you certainly won't be disappointed.
Download: The Demo