Bridges is available via:
Alternative; Folk; Singer-Songwriter
New York, U.S.A.
5th December, 2017 (Video)
THERE are similarities between my review subject…
of yesterday and today’s inclusion, Aisha Badru. I will return to New York – taking a different angle on the state – and look at the realities for young artists; what opportunities there out there for someone with a unique air. I will move on to looking at music that soothes and have a plaintive edge – imbued with soul and heart. Then, a peek at songs that address those relationships that have obstacles in there – even if they appear perfect and secure. I will move on to philanthropic artists and those who go out their way to help others; a bit about personal needs in regards music – and finish looking at possible icons and why we need to encourage certain artists. Mind on Fire, a previous track from Badru, hooked me in and has led me to her current track – the beautiful and heartfelt, Bridges. I looked at New York when addressing Rivita yesterday. She has moved there and is studying. It is the first time for her there and a real experience. She has relocated from London and is now in a state that is expansive and scary. It is a wonderful place to be and somewhere many young artists are moving to. What excites me about New York is the sheer choice. I noted, in the review yesterday: there is a wide and expansive geography in the state. It is not all rush and hectic move. New York is like any other state out there: you get calm and peace away from something more built-up. Rivita, to me, seemed to embrace the most alive and frantic nature of New York. Her music had that urgency and, whilst looking at bad love; it was a busy and bold track that drew me right into where she is. Aisha Badru occupies the same state. She has penned a song that is more romantic and alluring. It seems to take the listener to a scenic and picturesque situation – a place where you can unwind and get away from the bustle.
Bridges has plenty of emotion and pain at heart but, in terms of sounds, it is an engaging and exciting track. There is so much working away at the core. When I first heard it; my mind and body were moved and I was determined to learn more about Badru. It seems like she has embraced New York and tackled it from a new angle. That is what we think about when it comes to New York: it is all smoke, rude bodies and noise. That is deeply unfair. In musical terms; some of the finest artists are playing there. I feel New York has advantages over London. Its five boroughs are very different and one can notice huge differences between, say, Staten Island and Brooklyn. It is an exciting part of the world and one that will produce legends of the future. Badru is one of the most engaging and creative artists I have heard. It makes me want to look deeper into New York and investigate the complexities of the scene. Before I move on, and look at a new side; I wanted to recommend Badru pushes her social media more. Right now, her numbers are good but they could be bigger. There are few images available online – a conflict and problem that almost made me avoid review – and there is little information available to the casual observer. Her official website is impressive but, again, there is not much in the way of photos. In an area teeming and competitive; she has a sound that deserves lots of respect and success. That will come but a way of fast-tracking that is to get more of herself out there. She has a few great snaps but, right now, there is not too much to go on. Maybe it is a case of hiring a photographer for a day in N.Y.C. They could set Badru in a few locations and take, maybe, a dozen shots. That would be more attractive to the observer and would not rely on a new single – a lot of artists coordinate new shoots with a single. That is one of the things I object to in modern music. It is always wise having photos and information lined-up regularly. Journalists are looking for choice and information to go on. In terms of her music; there is plenty to write about – it would be good to accompany that with visual aids.
I will move on now but, as I feature more female artists for review, it allows me a moment to reflect on young female artists. I know there are struggles for every musician in the world but the female artist has a much tougher time. Music is a big, bad wolf and can chew people up. I feel there are too many obstacles for young artists at the moment. It is hard getting your voice heard and, regardless of your quality; artists who are more commercial and radio-ready get ahead quicker. Badru is a stunning artist whose songs get into the mind and make the listener feel better – maybe not ‘better’ but more enriched, at least. The industry is sexist, I am afraid. It always has been and will stay that way for a little while longer. Before any real changes are made; I wonder how a young, black American female artist fares in the modern music world. Badru lives in a part of the world ruled by an idiot President; her style – Soul and Folk – is not as mainstream as, say, Pop; she is doing things her own way – all potential drawbacks in the industry. That may seem harsh but music is not perfect: there are a lot of changes that need to happen. Luckily; the New York-based artist is in a state that fosters diversity and equality. Her sounds are incredible and the songs one witness stays with you long after they have finished. I know Aisha Badru’s rise and progression will be a little slower than a similar-minded male artist. I know the industry has a long way to go but, until it catches up with evolution; we must take action ourselves and force change. I listen to someone like Badru and notice she is a lot stronger and more appealing than Ed Sheeran. He is a mainstream artist who is as popular as he is because his music is unchallenging; his personality pretty basic – appealing to those who do not want to think too much or engage with anything real.
Aisha Badru, on the other hand, is a very complicated and alluring artist who challenges the listener and provides something deep. It seems strange she would have to fight harder to get herself seen than an artist whose music is inferior. I guess that is the reality of the modern industry. What I do know is she will succeed and grow in time. It will not be overnight but I know she will get there eventually. It is exciting because I am hearing few musicians like her. There is that Soul/Folk backbone but, riding high, is an original angle that amazes me. On paper, it might seem like she is like any other artist out there. Her songs feature the same subjects (love and life) and there is not anything ground-breaking or paradigm-shifting. That is not her fault: it is near-impossible making anything revolutionary in the current times. I will move on but I wanted to outline the truth about modern music. Badru knows this but, in spite of the challenging view; she is producing music that is meaningful to her and differs from what is out there. That might be a gamble but, when one hears it, it all makes sense. I am going to follow her this year and see how her music progresses. It is the uniqueness of it that bowls me over. Her music, Bridges especially, has that sense of calm but there is power and panache working underneath. It is an amazing song and one that makes the listener reflect and think. There are a lot of songs about love on the market – Badru’s latest track is a very different beast.
The title of Bridges suggests a path to safety and new lands. In actuality; it is about building bridges and making compromises. There are challenges in every relationship: things are never as smooth and flawless as you’d imagine. A lot of artists are approaching love in a very negative and ordinary way. There are so many artists out there right now – finding one whose heart beats a different way is vital. I get annoyed at musicians who have that hostile and suffocating approach to relationships. It is understandable they have pain and the need to vent. The listener wants to relate to a song but, in most cases, they are looking for productive answers and a new dynamic. They, themselves, are hurt – musicians need to offer something more positive and comforting. Badru does that but does not avoid the struggles and bad points. The reasons one feels an intimacy in the song is (the fact) Badru records out of her bedroom. She is sharing songs online but, until recently, she recorded in private for herself. The fact the songs are penned in such a closed-off and homely environment mean they have that authenticity and romance. It is not impossible to think she recorded and penned songs like Bridges in the same house she shared with a lover – where the memories and lyrics came to life. Maybe that is quite a dangerous thing: you are unable to detach from the situation, and so, the music is too subjective. I feel recording at home and having that familiar space means songs are richer and more natural. If Badru recorded in big studios and wrote with other people, her music would seem artificial and forced. She is creating in her own space and, a lot of times, producing material for herself. The fact it is out in the world means it connects with her – there is something in the music that, she feels, needs to be shared with the world.
Bridges is an amazing song because it does not idealise love and neglect the negative aspects. In the same manner; Badru does not scorn and castigate her sweetheart; portraying life as a miserable shell and a lonesome beast. There are too many artists who come out of troubled relationships and pour their blood all over the speakers. I am not sure which is worse: those who do that and artists who soppily and gratingly over-egg love and elevate it to the level of perfection. Badru is a pragmatic and grounded woman who knows what a relationship involves. There are hard times but, regardless of the reason; there are practical and workable solutions. That is a healthy and impressive attitude to take. As such, as a listener, I am more invested and curious. Whether you are in a relationship or not; hearing a balanced and smart approach to love is going to be much more palatable. The song itself is a terrific thing. There is so much working away and wisdom running throughout. I will come to the song itself but I wanted to congratulate Badru on a wonderful work. The song is taken from her forthcoming album. That L.P. will feature Mind on Fire – it has accrued more than five-million streams on Spotify – and is a highly-anticipated work. I am interested seeing what other songs accompany these tracks. It is clear relationships and the complexities of the soul are important guides. Badru is experiencing life and New York. She is making her way through the world and trying to make sense of everything. Her music is hard to categorise but maybe that is her edge: someone you try to figure out as the music is playing. In a music world with too much simplicity and predictable music; there is something wonderfully intriguing about Aisha Badru.
I wanted to feature Badru because there is another aspect to her personality: a philanthropic drive that motivates everything she does. Badru self-released an E.P. in 2015 and her song, Waiting Around, was used in a Volkswagen viral campaign. She has had success so far and, with an album looming; that is going to increase and multiply. I am excited to see how far she can go in the business. There are few that have time to record music and live their lives – and have the energy to help others, too. Aisha Badru has travelled to Bali, Indonesia and other parts of the world. She has given her time and efforts to help those less fortunate. She donated a portion of the income from the Volkswagen commercial to rebuild a home for a local poverty-stricken family. Maybe Badru is connecting with her roots and has greater affinity with those from less-well-off climates. It is her heart and indomitable spirit that means she has that charitable edge. The fact she has given so much of herself to others makes me wonder whether more artists should take this approach. Badru is someone who is keen to help others and does not want to be shut away. She knows other struggle and there are many out there in need of help. She cannot aid them all but, when she receives a bit of wealth; she feels the desire to give it to those in need. That impressive and commendable attitude needs to adopted in the industry. There are big artists who have wealth and fortune and do not donate any to others. A lot of musicians are not in such a fortunate position: they make meagre sums and need that money to fund their own music. One cannot assume every artist should give a percentage of their money to worthy causes. I am determined those bigger artists should do their part and set an example. The likes of Badru are inspiring because they could easily shut themselves away and hide.
Music is a tough industry where few people can actually make big sums from it. If you are lucky enough to make a bit of money; where is the first place you ate putting that cash? In every community; there are causes that require extra capital. Maybe it is down to the government to fund and rescue those who need it most. In nations where that is not always possible – developing countries who are struggling – and, so, who is there to assist? I feel Aisha Badru is doing a lot of good in what she does. She is charitable and loving; her music is speaking to many people and resonating in the heart. Everything she does is motivated by a need to give back. So many artists are selfish and out for commercial gain: those who cast their wealth (spiritual and actual) to other people need to be highlighted. If bigger artists see what the likes of Badru are doing; maybe they will then take a more productive approach to philanthropy. The way we can get that message out to them is to promote Badru – the way to do that is to share her music and messages on social media. I am excited to see, when her album is out, how that will affect people and give. The music will nourish and stun; the messages will connect with many people out there. She will get money and profit when it is out to the world. People will come calling and advertisers will look to use her music. I wonder where her next project will take her. It is clear she wants to change the world and help people who have less than her. We need to back Badru and what she does for many different reasons. Her way of working is what the music industry needs. That charitable dynamic and the way she writes; how original her songs are and what her voice can do – all components that can make the industry richer and more human.
Bridges is a song I read a little about before I heard it. I know it tackles love and the barriers that come in the way. I was not sure how it would begin and what sensations would be registered from the very start. One might think of a Folk/Soul singer and feel they are going to be classic-sounding and soft. In fact, when you listen to the opening moments of Bridges – there is physicality, toughness and modernity that is unexpected. The tough and tense beats crack and punch. You get a real hit and sense of emotion from the very first seconds. That voice is something that gets under the skin. The video finds two lovers embracing and locked in a kiss; in the night’s air, they seem very happy and together. In actual fact; you can see some struggle and testing times come through. The heroine smiles but the hero, with a slightly glum face, needs lifting and reassurance. Badru, in the song, has a velvet and chocolate-rich voice that is impossibly engaging and sensual. It is rough and smoked; there is a ravaged and pained quality that means every note explodes like a firework. The heroine “fell from the stars” and, in order to find herself, she travelled far and long. I wonder whether that exploration concerns love and betterment or a physical trek. It has been a hard path for the lovers – but it seems a lot of work is needed. You get caught in the sea of warm embers that come from Badru. It is impactful and instant; a song that will mean something to every listener. You are graced and buckled by the entrance and soothe. Our girl followed the man’s spark – inside of the darkness – and accepts he has qualities. There is that deep connection but, even in the best times; the two have differences and harsher times. The need to maintain that love is paramount. Badru will not lose the flame and knows there are compromises required. She realises there are mountains to climb; the sun will not always shine. She will stick with and swears by her commitment.
Beats come through and there are keys and sweet sway. Physical metaphors are brought in to outline the gulfs and realities of the relationship. Each conflict and cross word seems like an oceanic distance and earthquake. Surviving these troubles and coming through resolved is what is required. Rather than let every quarrel and quandary rupture the heart; the sweethearts are resolved to remain true and strong together. Love can be a rather cruel thing but, rather than let every dip and bump ruin things; it is a lot less damaging opening discussions and remaining firm. That might sound impossible from the outside but it seems Badru has found someone worth sticking with. The video’s inter-racial couple are locked in clinches and seem happy but, as the video develops, there is an unease and imminent trouble. The boy is taken away and the girl is left shocked and lost. The vocals, in a way, remind me of a similar-named artist: you get a touch of Erykah Badu and, actually, Macy Gray, coming out. It is that clash between modern and classic that reflects the dichotomies of the attested relationships. The heroine melts her gorgeous voice with a composition that brings the song right to the current time. She has soul and endless passion but, sparring against those tense beats; something complex and multifaceted emerges. That is the way the relationship is brewing. Things are not easy but you have, on the one hand, heartfelt love and commitment – the ever-present strikes and winds of change are interwoven and assimilated into the song. It is impossible to listen to Bridges and not be affected by it. Whether you fall for that video and the filmic development; the staggering vocals and what they exert – or whether the entire thing gets to you. It is a fantastic cut that takes a bit of time to seep into the skin. The first time around; one takes all the threads in and lets it get into the brain. Once there, the desire to understand every moment and angle is pressing. I have heard it a number of times and am still finding new potential. It is a stunning and mesmeric cut from a New York artist unlike anyone else.
I hope Aisha Badru continues to push and record as much as she can. I feel she is making big steps and, if she can get more images and information on her pages – that will lead more people in and get journalists here busy. I know she will have gigs in the diary and plans cemented. Badru is someone who connects with humanity and people’s struggles. The fact the first song she learnt on the guitar – when she spoke with Acoustic Magazine – was The Beatles’ Blackbird cannot be a coincidence. That song is about civil rights struggle and the need for freedom. Badru has visited Africa and donated her time to help people. She wants to, this year, make documentaries and record more. She wants to get out there and bring music to the people. This humanitarian ethos and desire to better the world will entice crowds to a destination near Badru. I hope she continues to strive and plays a lot of gigs around New York. It is a state that fosters the most ambitious and original. Bridges is a tantalising insight into her forthcoming album. I wonder whether that L.P. will address love in all its moods or tackle the plight of those less fortunate. She has come a long way the past year and I feel things are going to get even better – this year will be the best one for the young American. She experimented with various effects and subjects on her album. I cannot wait to see what comes out of it. Make sure you keep abreast of all her going-ons and happenings. My biggest desire is to get Badru over to the U.K. I feel there is a lot of potential for her over this way. Few have the same desire, sound and personality as she does. London would provide ample gigs and there are many other areas she could explore. That might be a little way away – it would be quite expensive coming here – but I hope that is part of her diary. I shall leave this now but, with Bridges in my mind; I have found a new star…
IN Aisha Badru.
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