In our latest Global Spotlight, we’re focusing on three talents from Maryland who’re all subtly pushing boundaries in their respective fields. From the soulful intonations of James Tillman whose heartfelt R&B will soothe your soul to the refreshing take on Hip Hop and Rap courtesy of Ciscero and Jay IDK who continue impress with their versatility and eloquent songwriting respectively.
James Tillman makes the kind of music that breaks your heart and fixes it at the same time. Over the past four year or so, Tillman has been paving his own path of R&B with releases that echo his exceptional songwriting and impeccable vocal abilities.
From the smooth inflections of debut Shangri-La EP which beautifully set the tone for Tillman’s Eclectic artistry as that enchanting voice of his renders you in a state of pure relaxation to his Silk Noise Reflex project from last year, Tillman’s influences of Marvin Gaye and Maxwell shine through on all accounts whilst he brings his own unique sound to the forefront. Packed with subtle sophistication in the production which twinkle in the background on tracks like “Casual Encounters”, it’s the fragile and delicate vocals paired with the lush pictures he paints that steal the show and make Tillman such an impressive talent.
Listen to more: soundcloud.com/jmtill
There’s something refreshing about Ciscero’s approach to Hip Hop and rap music. With a handful of tracks under his belt, each of his releases thus far have been of the highest quality with no two songs sounding the same. Maintaining this level of quality and diversity is somewhat of a rarity as it can be incredibly tempting to stick to what you know works.
Take Ciscero’s single “Pressure” featuring contributions from Matt McGhee and April George, which encompasses a more soulful and mellow aesthetic compared to the vibey and frenetic “Hol Up” which sees the rapper deliver a relentless set of verses from start to finish. Follow up single “Poppin’ Wheelies” finds the sweet spot between the two as the production channels that throwback and light feel whilst Ciscero and Sugg Savage go all in with their performances. Although we’ve yet to hear a full length project from the Maryland rapper, it’s safe to assume that when the time comes, he’ll deliver an absolute stomper!
Listen to more: soundcloud.com/ciscero-breh
There aren’t many rappers who speak the truth than Jay IDK. Having released a project every year for the past three years in the forms of Sex, Drugs, and Homework, Subtrap and last year’s Empty Bank, the Maryland artist has continually presented brutally honest and poignant foretellings of his past in his music. It’s this very characteristic which allows his music to truly resonate with fans and listeners alike as it gives them a clear and unadulterated insight into problems, feelings and experiences that they can relate to.
Of course, writing deeply personal accounts about topics such as money, politics and everything else in between is just the half of it. Because even with a compelling narrative, you can’t grab audience’s’ attention – you need to present these stories in a way that transcends words alone. That’s where Jay IDK’s infectious flow and eclectic taste in instrumentation comes into play as it’s elevates his music to such powerful and impressive heights.
Listen to more: soundcloud.com/jayidk1