If you’re on the contemporary R&B train, like I have been since my discovery of Daniel Caesar, you are bound to love Summer Walker. She is a perfect harmonisation of hypnotising vocals, genuinely emotive lyrics and beautifully crafted laid-back instruments, everything you dream up in an R&B singer. She draws inspiration from the likes of Erykah Badu and Amy Winehouse and her 2018 and only album, Last Day of Summer, speaks to that inspiration. Walker is a relatively new artist, from Atlanta, USA, (born in Texas). She began her career as a model, appearing in various music videos before finally turning to focus on being a singer/song-writer.
Let’s begin with the song that introduced me to Summer. The song that got me thinking: “is this SZA channelling her inner H.E.R. and Amy Winehouse?” Walker sings about love, herself, her journey portrayed in poetic lyricism, subtle instrumentation and a voice that encompasses the range of softness akin to these three artists. If you know Daniel Caesar’s ‘Get You’ – think of a feminised, style sequel and you get Walker’s song, ‘CPR’, in return. It is a captivatingly melancholy sound that parallels its sombrely hope-filled lyrics – something I appreciate about Walker: the beat prepares you for gloom but the lyrics ignite a little bit of uplift.
Her more popular single, ‘Girls Need Love’, is a feminist anthem for the books. A raw soulful vibe that speaks to subvert social conventions concerning girls talking about their sexual life, as she says herself, “I just need some d***”. I can imagine playing this on a road-trip with my best girlfriends, screaming about how lonesome, in love, we feel – the song will definitely be on my summer playlist for next year.
The songs: ‘Deep’, ‘Karma’, ‘Smartwater’ and ‘Baby’ are, in my opinion, nods to retro R&B (fitting, as one of her inspiration is Erykah Badu). ‘Deep’ especially reminds me of a slowed down version of Aaliyah’s ‘More Than a Woman’. Despite the shortness of some her songs, the over minute . Walker makes ‘moody’ cool and a chill-to kind of music and that is a feat for any artist. With only one album under her name, she’s already proven to be a talent to watch for.
At the moment, Walker is touring with 6lack, on his North American tour, so it would seem Last Day of Summer is not the last we will see of Summer, and perhaps at some point in the future a tour in the UK could be actualised as well.
Last Day Of Summer is available now via LVRN/Interscope Records.