Voice revealed last year with the magnificent debut album Forever, Ya Girl, Chakeiya Richmond signs as keiyaA one of the most genuine and promising adventures for the coming years. It is without crystal balls, but with the intuition of the real, that the artist has garnered curiosity and reverence around her. Listening to her, with that confessional delivery and always certain notion that less is more, reminds us of the lesson given by Kendrick Llamar with good kid, m.A.A.d city. The narrative of the songs or the aesthetic irreverence in the production stand out immediately, in a sound novel somewhere between the vision of afro-futurism and the constant political-social struggle of the streets of New York – and the world.
If it all starts from R&B, or its more recognisable structure, it’s immensely unfair to understand it from that prism alone. One of the reasons she’s so fascinating is precisely that detachment from the common ground; she strums and infects some of the most deviant electronica, feeling the latent energy of jazz or soul as a primal spark. It is a refreshing and rewarding experience, reminding us that avant-gardism is not only made of conceptual complexity or hermetic visions. Erykha Badu and Sun Ra, hand in hand, with keiyaA at the epicentre of this imaginary encounter.
Rare are the opportunities to witness this contemporary chapter of R&B live and even more so on this side of the Atlantic. In the past ZDB welcomed, and in good time, artists such as DAWN, Kelela or THEESatisfaction, in remarkable presentations. This makes room to add another important visit, one of those where we feel that it could be now or never. Not to be missed. NA