Feel Something is available at:
11th August, 2017
A good reason I was keen to review Jhyve is down to the fact…
there is that blend of curiosity and openness. In terms of his social media; he is keen to connect with fans and update them in regards his goings-on and music. I will address other issues soon but, for now, let’s stick with that. One of my biggest derisions is artists that reveal little about their process and background. There are so many out there: not opening up and letting the listener in is a risky business. The Toronto-based Jhyve is someone who keeps the current coming: there is not too much about his past and how he got into music. Maybe that is frustrating but, gradually, one pieces bits about his life together through status updates and lines in the music. The latest smash, Feel Something, does unearth some revelations but it would be nice to know more about the Canadian. I feel there are a lot of artists who assume, as I have said before, that music will do all the talking for them. This is a point I bring up a lot but my hope is to convert people to a more transparent way of recording. Jhyve gives plenty of photographs – always a good and unexpected treat – but it would be good to know what his new song is about; what music he was raised on and some personal details. It would not be too exposing and vulnerable if we learned more about the man. That is something, I hope, is rectified but it is good knowing a little about the man. What does come through is the power and intrigue of the music. Few artists can produce something as powerful and interesting as Jhyve. My next point concerns R&B/Soul mixture and how few artists manage to nail the concoction. As part of my weekly ‘Playlist’ series; I collate all the new tunes from the mainstream – the great songs from the underground included in there. What I find, when looking at R&B/Soul artists is a lack of nuance and originality. Some of your bigger names can pack a punch but there are few impressions made by the new breed.
What I observe is many throw other names into the blend. You would not believe how sore my fingers are when typing out all the songs. The titles are short enough: it is the number of collaborators that make it punishing! I understand it is important collaborating with other artists but, in this day, it seems every new R&B/Urban artist has to throw a host of people into their music. Not only does it look irritating on the page but one wonders how necessary it is. I am not singling out these genres – it happens with Rap and Pop a lot – but it is a problem that afflicts R&B/Urban artists more than others. I feel (these artists) are showing bragging rights and flexing their egos. I do not see the need to put so many people into a song. It becomes muddled and the various performers do not stand out and have a minor role. The song is about the star, really. Unless you are doing a duet; I fail to see how three or four other people really help bring a song to life. There is a cynicism and marketing ploy inherent in this strategy. Putting various names into a song means each of them can share it on Spotify. They can put it on their playlists and various channels – ensuring that song gets loads of views and streams. It has little to do with the quality of the piece: all to do with making a song popular by bringing well-respected artists into a single place. Music is becoming more about marketing and popularity than quality and originality. This is a reason why I object to artists collaborating endlessly: so many people on one song is unwieldy, pointless and cumbersome. Why I mention this is because Jhyve plays in the genres of Soul/R&B/Urban but does not feel the need to drag an array of producers/singers into his music. There are times, I am sure, other people have been involved – Feel Something is a lot more focused and about the man himself.
PHOTO CREDIT: @ellenaturel
One of the reasons I am sceptical genres like R&B and Soul will struggle to gain any headway is the fact a lot of its artists are losing that focus and not penning anything that sticks in the mind. The mainstream best do well but we need the underground acts to step up and up their game. I am excited by Jhyve as he can provide something mainstream and popular without having to compromise his talent and sell his soul. I wanted to talk about the style of music he plays and what it does to the imagination. One gets the straining and yearning strings of Soul greats; the hardcore vocals and intensity of R&B – a blend of colour and passions that gets the heart and body skipping. Another grievance I have with a lot of chart-based R&B acts is the lack of purity and naturalness. The vocals are stuffed through machines and the beats often stilted and stiff. The composition, what there is of it, appears anodyne and robotic; the performance lacking any soul and feeling. The song, essentially, is produced to get people to clubs and parroting the words without realising there is no substance and depth to the piece. Jhyve, as I will explain later, has gospel roots and brings his church teachings into the music. This is a big reason I wanted to focus on the man: there is a sense of sermon and teaching when one experiences his music. What excited me about a song like Feel Something is that it can mix with the chart best but shows a lot more strength and depth than your average fare. Listening to the song; one explores the words and music and casts themselves in the music. Genuinely great music should transport a listener in and involve them in every step of the process. You can imagine the Canadian in the studio laying the vocal down. One can almost hear the between-takes chatter with the producer: getting ideas for a certain nuance and imagining the banter and casual conversation. There is polish and gleam on the track but a pleasing edginess that means you do not witness something fake and shallow.
PHOTO CREDIT: @thisiskjsworld
Later on; I will write a piece about politics in music and the role musicians have documenting what is around them. Living in North America; Jhyve can only sit back and witness what is happening in the U.S. Canada is not as blighted and scarred as the U.S. but the flooding in Houston and the way Trump is addressing it must get to him. Fortunately, in Justin Trudeau (their 23rd Prime Minister) there is someone who knows how to connect with the people and deal with a crisis. I feel, in many senses, the way a nation is run reflects on the people. There is anger and disappointment in Canada but, with stronger guidance and less trouble than America; you get a lot more optimistic and positive passion (than the U.S.). The fire and sense of disgust felt in America is compelling many of its artists to put their disgust onto the page and put it out to the world. It is vital the biggest musicians document what is going on around them. I know Jhyve’s heart goes out to those affected by the flooding but, living in a country where there is better security and authority; his mindset is not as anxious and angered as his neighbour contemporaries. The reason I bring this up is because, as such, one experiences something pure, uplifting and untroubled about the music. So many artists obsess over personal problems and romantic stress. Jhyve is someone who feels betrayal and obsession but does not let it rule and own his songwriting. Feel Something has some negative edges but the overall sensation is of the positive. Maybe that is the striking and colourful music; the compelling vocal and the amount of commitment Jhyve brings to the piece. I wanted to mention euphoric recall and how new songs can bring one’s mind to songs they fell for young. A lot of my early music experience was with the Dance songs of the 1990s. Those innocent and timeless gems got me hooked by music and remain in my thoughts today. I yearn to discover music that can get the body involved but does not have to obsess over sex, revenge and negativity. Although Jhyve does not remind me of the 1990s’ production values and sounds of the time – there is that similar quality and fun.
PHOTO CREDIT: @thisiskjsworld
So many modern songs are directed at the groin and throat. The listener gets overwhelmed by thick production layers and similar-sounding songs. The Canadian master knows what the market wants but does not produce music that sounds exactly like everyone else out there. I get that recollection of my past but find a songwriter who adds a new dimension to R&B/Soul music. Jhyve has Pop edges and some Electronic touches. There is so much going on and, actually, one gets aspects of the better Dance days and the freshness of the contemporary scene. It is hard to listen to Jhyve’s music in a recreational and uncommitted way. He puts so much thought and himself in the music: the listener cannot resist the temptation to pull the music apart and unpick the enigmas. Mixing direct wording with some underplaying mysteries means a song like Feel Something strikes you on the first listen – revealing little secrets and revelations later down the line. I will come to look at Canadian artists but, before then, wanted to address the religious aspect of Jhyve. It is interesting seeing the contrast in Jhyve. There is sexuality and confidence in Feel Something. Violent edges come into some of his music; his Twitter bio quotes lines that state one should kill their enemies with bullets – save love for your mother. One might look at those surface details and assume Jhyve is a rapper who wants to blow his enemies away and get to the top. That would be a misjudgement because, if one digs deeper, they find a very complex human who has two different sides. On the one side; there is that confident artist who wants success and has a wilder side. He yearns for girls and wants a sex life; going downtown and experiencing Rock, cars and jokes with the gang. On the other side of things; he has that faith and calm side that mixes philosophy, pragmatism and level-headed sensibleness.
Whether you see faith as a pejorative or irrelevant in an age where fewer people are going to church – there is something refreshing and unmoving about Jhyve. His natural kindness and compassion for people around him, one suspects, comes from the experiences he has had with religion. I have been looking at some of his Instagram photos – with churches in the background – as he casts his eyes to the sky. He has, as he says himself, toes rooted to the ground: two eyes are looking up and focused. Maybe this means he is grounded and modest but always ambitious and progressive. I feel it is more to do with the importance of religion and a degree of belief. I am not sure how committed he is to the church, and regular attendance, but one hears a Gospel music-like depth and strength in his voice. I feel Jhyve is such an interesting artist as he is open with his followers and sees them as his flock. He is a man still young and finding his way in life. He rides bumper cars – a recent Instagram photo attested he was on the bumpers teaching some fools a serious lesson – and the artwork of his latest song has milkshakes on it. One can well imagine him indulging in innocent and strangely old-school interests. It is almost like Jhyve is a man with his mind and soul in the 1950s: his body and heart set in 2017. There is that part of him that loves the simple pleasures of catting about and hanging with his little sister – she just had her sweet-sixteenth and, whilst it wasn’t a big party and blow-out; she got a lot of love from her brother on her big day. Against the loving and old-fashioned charm of the man is a current and modern soul who is very much part of the world and aware of artists like Kendrick Lamar – guided by his music and aware one does not have to follow the beat of marketing men and labels to create a sound that sounds right to you; fashion music that has credibility and need not follow the pack.
Toronto is a part of the world that has, through the years, produced some sensational music. Drake, Broken Social Scene and Metric are from here: Crystal Castles and peaches hail from those parts. Neil Young, the most-famous son of the area, shows the diversity and quality of Ontario. Emily Haines, Esthero and Cowboy Junkies add to this. Among the great and worthy artists in Toronto at the moment – there are many I could recommend. PUP, proud of their roots, are loud and brash but not vulgar. They can create hooks and Pop-minded songs without selling their Rock/Alternative ethos down the river. The Beaches, named for the East-side Toronto neighbourhood they reside, are an all-female Rock band progressing by the release – they cite Haim as influences – and are growing by the year. Hooded Fang started out about a decade ago and, back then, switch female/male vocals and brought unconventional instrumentations into their music. Since then; they have streamlined and become a more conventional band. They are worthy of your time and one of the strongest examples of what Toronto is capable of. Prince Innocence, Wild Rivers and Rochelle Jordan are a trio of acts that, between them, have made big impressions on the local scene. What I notice about Toronto/Ontario is the diversity of the music. Some parts are limited when it comes sound and genres but Toronto is a bustling and ambitious city that is going to provide music some of the best future artists. Already, we have seen so much quality come from that part of the world. Jhyve is part of the scene and vibes from the talent and mix around him. Fantastic venues such as Massey Hall, Mod Club Theatre and Polson Pier attract the hottest artists to play. I am not sure whether Jhyve is going to remain in the city or has plans to relocate. That is up to him but it is clear there are ample opportunities around him. A lot of artists are limited as to the venues and contemporaries that can foster and push their work – this is not the case with the rising Canadian.
PHOTO CREDIT: @ellenaturel
I will move on but, before I do, a quick nod to the savviness and smartness one gets from Jhyve. That might sound condescending but, at a time when so many people use social media the wrong way; it is refreshing and pleasing seeing Jhyve do things right. He promotes his music but his campaigns are not built around endless tease and enigma. What I mean but that is so many modern artists are ruthlessly calculated with their promotion and often guided by the label. Often, we get snippets of songs and singles promoted endlessly. It gets tiring seeing the big artists spoon-feeding people their music and over-promoting their sounds. A lot of the new artists are guilty of this but Jhyve does not force-feed people endlessly. Instead, one is informed as to the latest happenings (of Jhyve) but there is a nice incorporation of the personal. He has shared updates/statuses about his sister’s birthday and what he does over the weekend. The man likes to let people into his personal life and does not keep it all about business. In this day and age; there is such a fear that, if one speaks about anything but music; they will be trolled and open to abuse. The biggest artists are so cautious when it comes to their Twitter feeds and what they share with people. That can mean musicians are seen as intangible and detached people. This is not what one gets from Jhyve. He is someone that balances the personal and professional and ensures his fans are kept updated of his happenings. At the same time; one is not bombarded by endless updates and useless information. For people like me – who want to know about the person behind music – that is not to be scoffed at. I love the fact Jhyve connects with the people but is someone who is serious about music. Feel Something has been shared and promoted online but I do not feel like we have been inundated with snatches, snippets and teasers. Social media should have that social aspect: too many musicians are using it as a business tool – and not spending adequate time bonding with their followers.
The opening notes of Feel Something mix sounds one would not normally expect in the same locale. There are beautiful, strummed electronic strings that have a catchiness and subtle energy. Interspersed are processed and high-pitched vocals - that means we get an odd-yet-charming blend. It is a curious and exciting introduction one is committed to. A lot of songs (R&B and Soul) might rush in and not expend any time building the song up. Here, we hear a young man that knows how to get the listener hooked without throwing everything into the first moments. He holds stuff back but, in those early moments, there are some fantastic notes and wonderful possibilities. When he approaches the microphone, it seems, there is something heavy playing on his heart. The girl, it appears, feels nothing. Maybe that is a comment on the way she approaches life: perhaps it is the reality of their love and the way the romance has gone. Jhyve feels something when she feels nothing. He is affected by her temperament and the empty nature of her expressions. I guess, in a way, one could perceive it as a lamentation of a love-gone-cold. The two might be drifting apart but, in my mind, I looked wider and saw a person that was drifting away from the pleasures life offers. The girl might have been through the mill and experienced a lot of disappointment – unwilling to project optimism and believe anything good will happen. Regardless; the hero feels all this and wishes she would feel something. Her pains and stresses are being projected onto him. He carries the burden and yearns to change the situation. Our man is “tired of the notion” she cannot feel any emotion. It seems, in this moment, he is revealing what it is like being in a relationship. Were he merely a friend; this sense of upset and anger would not be present. Few artists address love and relationships this way and, by focusing on the sensation of emotional expression, it takes things away from the bedroom and focuses on something deeper.
As the song grows into its skin; my mind changes and different visions spring into the brain. The hero is starting to get his back up and it seems the girl has being like this for a while. She is playing with him and seems to be treating him unfairly. Toying with his heart and messing him about: the song hits back and asks why she cannot be straight and truthful. The language becomes harder and, from that early calm, a notable degree of aggression. The hero keeps his cool but one suspects he has had enough. Again, at this point, there is never a suggestion things will stray into the sexual – talking about indiscretion, the physicality or betrayal. It appears the two have different personalities and the romance has run dry. With the girl on a different page: Jhyve is asking for truth and wants to know why she is treating him this way. Things get revealing and direct only when a couple of glasses have been consumed. The hero takes the girl to her favourite spots and treats her well. All the while; she keeps things inside and never really shows appreciation. Only when the alcohol is out does things get heated and ‘truthful’. The tongue loosens and this is when arguments begin. One can see, as an outsider, the relationship is flawed and doomed but why should he relinquish it so soon? Maybe there is a long history between them and our man is not willing to let things go. It is clear things were good in the past and they had a lot of fun. Now, for whatever reason, the relationship is cracking and things are reaching the end. It is as simple as returning to those older days and reverting to their better selves. The girl is keeping things in and not really feeling what Jhyve is.
Perhaps she is looking at other men or unable to express any joy at the world. That anhedonia is getting the hero down and making him question his good intentions. One might discover influence from Drake in some of the song’s lines. Like his fellow Ontarian: Jhyve knows how to keep things real but project his music in a semi-poetic and deep way. The beats get a bit tighter and processed vocals add background intensity. Composition-wise; things are never too intense and crowded. It is about the vocals and the delivery from the front. As such; one is often treated to sumptuous and captivating sounds. Jhyve is someone, one suspects, who has taken guidance from church performances and, as such, understands the beauty and power of grace. This, mixed with a more punch and direct vocal means Feel Something has a sumptuous bouquet of vocal tones. Following the song and there appear to be few easy answers. I know the two had some good times but something has changed in the dynamic. I found myself looking at the girl and whether she is cheating on Jhyve. Another man might be on the scene but she is taken the hero for granted, to an extent. I know relationships are hard but there is a simple imbalance that means one knows who to accuse. Our hero is keeping his cool but is growing weary of the holding-back and passive-aggressive nature of his sweetheart. Rather than sever the ties and cast her off: the need to get her to open up and talk to him is evident. Towards the end stages; the confusion and hurt do not go away. The verses contrast from the chorus and give the song two different sides. In the chorus; we hear those glorious vocals rise and seduce. It is an R&B/Gospel sweetness that gives those tortured words a sense of beauty and dignity. Verses are more straightforward and showcase Jhyve’s directness and powerful side.
Feel Something is a song that will play on the mind for some time – it does not have simple answers and one wonders how things worked out. Jhyve is not someone who holds grudges: he is not a man that wants to be in a relationship where it is so one-sided. He hugs the girl but gets nothing in return. The betrayal and coldness is getting to him and that is not good. I am deeply impressed by the Canadian artist and how he has developed. Since his mini-album, The Heartbreak Experience, last year; he has grown in songwriting confidence and seems to be incorporating new sounds. I feel that Feel Something is the best song he has come up with. He should be very proud of his latest creation and the strengths it contains. The response from social media has been big and many people are connecting with the song. The sense of familiarity and relatability means it will get under the skin of many. Most of us have been in a situation where love has gone sour – the other party not doing their part and causing hurt. Feel Something contains no cliché and is an original, personal song that comes from the heart. I am not sure if Jhyve is going to release any more song soon but it is clear he is inspired form. If you have not discovered the delights and wonders of Jhyve; make sure you get involved and dig out his music. Feel Something will resonate with those who have been a fan since the start. It is a song that will attract new listeners and outlines a new phase for the young man.
I have talked a lot about Jhyve’s music without talking a lot about the man himself. There are plenty of social media sites/music-streaming options but not a lot of personal biography. Jhyve has an official site but it is more a portal for his other websites – not much about who he is and where has come from. I would like to see all his interviews together and get a window into his early life and the music he was aware of. Seeing as Jhyve has elements of Gospel, Soul mixing with R&B and Urban sounds – that upbringing must have been diverse and interesting! Seeing some of that revealed on the page would give one a deeper impression of a young man who has a sense of the enigmatic. I have stated how he opens his world to the fans but it seems to be aspects of his present. There is little given to the past: this is as important as any part of his life. One does not need to hear his life-story but, a fairly thorough biography, would give people the opportunity of seeing how the young man grew into the artist he is today. I mentioned how a selection of photos is a promising sign – so many artists overlook that and do not provide images. There are few negatives one can put at Jhyve’s feet as he is an artist with a great sound who will go very far. I do wonder, before I nod back to some earlier points, I wonder whether Jhyve is coming to the U.K. at some point. August was a busy one that saw Jhyve promote Feel Something and get it out to the people. It has been exhausting and, one suspects, a time of excitement and new promise. Now, the song is out there so many people around the world will want to see it in the flesh. There are many in the U.K. that would love to see Jhyve play. So many good venues exist that would happily put him up for the evening.
The Canadian artist has a lot of love for Toronto and the people around him. The local scene sports terrific artists and has one of the most vibrant and varied scenes in the world. It is impossible getting to grips with all Toronto music but a cursory search shows the fantastic musicians coming out of the area. I mentioned some of the legends and new artists: a rich array of acts that, I feel, define the wonder and brilliance of the Canadian city. Ontario itself is a diverse landscape – not only about Toronto and what is happening there. Many would forgive Jhyve for staying where is because it seems like there is great support and affection for him. He loves being around his family and, as a young man himself, is still making his way into life. There are many years ahead so no rush when it comes to moving and exploring. Maybe L.A. and New York are areas he would be interested in. Perhaps London appeals or another part of Canada. I will wrap up the piece by urging people to get involved with Jhyve and where he is headed. I am not sure whether an E.P. will arrive before the end of this year but it is clear more music is imminent. I would love to see more come from him as I believe that combination of sounds and lyrical ideas is a rarity. There is a hardness and intensity that means the words pop and explode. Ideas of love and ambition sit with a confidence and swagger few possess. Balancing that is a tenderness and soulfulness that means the music is never too harsh and off-putting. Incredible production and a commanding performance ensure Feel Something is a song as fitting for the clubs and late-night revellers as it is those blasting the sunshine-lit highways.
PHOTO CREDIT: @thisiskjsworld
What I find egregious in modern music is those artists made into disposable and synthetic figures. A lot of labels market the hell out of people and turn them into something fake and hollow. Discovering a real artist that takes control of things is hard to find. I am excited to see Jhyve take-off and grow. He is a brilliant artist who mixes his ecumenical and faith background with modernity and cool that really intrigues. I hear a tender soul that gives thanks to others but, at the same time, has a confidence and sense of ambition that means he will get to the mainstream soon enough. There are few that have his combination of elements and talents. Feel Something is the start of things and a wonderful step from the Canadian songwriter. I am hooked by his social media feeds as one gets an insight into the personal life and day-to-day existence of the man. Alongside this is a passionate and excited human that is pleased Feel Something is out in the ether. I will leave things here but, before then, a look at the strengths of Jhyve’s latest tune. It has that danceable quality that possesses energy and vitality. Modern R&B and Hip-Hop edges sit with Soul undertones. Bringing all these sounds and sensations into the song could be a big risk: Jhyve is a talented and assured performer who handles the responsibilities perfectly and ensures every note gets into the brain. That is it from me so, in departing, it would be good if as many people as possible investigated the Canadian performer and followed his plight. There is a lot more to come: Feel Something is a fantastic song that shows Jhyve is one of the most promising new artists out there. If he does get the chance to come to the U.K.; that means many here will experience a fantastic young artist…
PHOTO CREDIT: @thisiskjsworld
ON the cusp of something huge.