Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this edition of Independent Spotlight, we take a look at the solo singer-songwriter, Imani Chyle. Chyle is an impressively acclaimed artist for one that has remained mostly independent, having been nominated for a number of awards throughout her career, one that has spanned over twenty years. We’re going to delve into her four available singles in this Independent Spotlight. The most apt way to do so would be to tackle them individually, so that’s how we’ll handle it:
Lose Myself: When the listener enters ‘Lose Myself,’ they immediately… well, lose themselves in the production. The production is top notch with a rhythmic piano driving the song as Chyle’s vocals build. Her vocals explode in the choruses, resonating with self confidence as she sings about her determination, letting her ‘pain motivate her gain,’ and never losing herself while still moving on. Chyle’s early rap roots reveal themselves in the track as it dances between an inspirational pop ballad, an R&B number, and a hip-hop, rap-esque sound.
Soul & Rock N Roll: The lyrics of ‘Soul & Rock N Roll’ explore Chyle’s ability to sing rock and roll, but only if she can add her soul to it. She’s going to ‘add a little soul to her rock and roll.’ The electric guitar on the track demands attention, beginning with a simple riff and evolving into a distorted, fuzzy arena rock sound. In fact, this is the kind of song that would be exceptionally well-placed in a packed arena.
Doin’ it My Way: The song begins with a scratchy turntable sound and atmospheric, synthesized, droning piano driven by a hip-hop beat. The song highlights Chyle’s vocals, which are quite solid. She has an impressive vocal range that can handle the low and high end of her music with equal eloquence. This track is the most R&B song of the four, a stark contrast to ‘Lose Myself’ and ‘Soul & Rock N Roll’ which boast a much more complex production.
Warrioress: ‘Warrioress’ immediately slams the listener with a machine-like electric guitar and cascading auto-tuned soundscapes. The reprieve of hard hitting, inspiration-based jamming was short lived, returning in full for this track. It’s quite a good song, and Chyle’s voice remains consistently interesting as multiple layers of itself build around each other.
At the heart of Chyle’s sound, she echoes the great soul and R&B singers of the twentieth century. Her songwriting sometimes causes you to lose interest, because the same themes develop themselves over and over throughout the music. She’s a strong female figure, and that is a good thing - something that should be made clear to her audience. With that said, she could lay off of the empowering, inspirational pedal at times to delve into some more introspective songwriting. Regardless, she’s got quick the voice and studio presence. Her production is strong as well. She’s got quite a way to go, but she’s got a good start and the talent to keep going.
Imani Chyle’s Website: