Updated: Jan 4, 2020
Contemporary R&B is nothing new. It’s a Soul-based genre with lyrics that speak of love, lust, and heartbreak. But in this era of pop that blends trap percussions with acoustic melodies, the BAD SAD EP is a 20-minute pop R&B catharsis for those experiencing a break-up or a quarter-life crisis. Singer, songwriter, and sketch artist Naomi Cheyanne is the latest R&B artist to grace ears of the Stubble Beat.
How did you first start singing and songwriting?
Writing and music have always been close to my heart at a very young age. I was a shy kid that never liked to talk. I used writing as a way to express ideas and say the things I was too afraid to say out loud. I started off writing short stories, poems, and plays which eventually turned into songs. In middle school, I stopped writing and decided to join a musical theater company which gave me the confidence to sing. After 5 years of musical theater, I decided to shift my focus on writing and creating [my own] music.
I use my artistry primarily for entertainment or self-expression. Both are very cathartic. I find so much joy in making music because I’m able to express a side of myself that feels trapped.
What was the inspiration behind the BAD SAD EP?
It’s hard for me to see amazing human beings hurt themselves by choosing to stay in toxic relationships. This EP is inspired by the pain of unhealthy relationships I’ve had and I know everyone else has had at some point in their life. I’m talking about all types of relationships, platonic, romantic, professional, etc. To break down the title of this EP, “BAD” pertains to toxic relationships and “SAD” pertains to making the choice to stay in that relationship. Each song touches upon the emotions one might feel while in a toxic relationship. “IDY and Fight It” focus on overcoming a bad relationship, “Heyy” reflects upon a bad relationship and “Bad Sad” touches upon feeling stuck or confused in the relationship.
How much did the thespian experiences help build your musical identity?
Each character I would play in a musical theater production taught me to discover different personalities in my music. Theater gave me the confidence to use my voice to express emotion and invite people to feel those emotions with me. I probably never would’ve discovered that if I wasn’t a theater kid.
What do you hope listeners take away from your EP?
This EP is all about allowing yourself to accept your feelings and understand why those feelings exist. I want my listeners to know their value and recognize the emotional/physical barriers in their lives that are hindering them from being the best version of themselves.
Your favorite (childhood) cartoon/TV Show?
The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. [It's a] shame that show stopped at 3 seasons.
Which singer(s) are your biggest influence(s)?
Any old school or modern RnB/Pop artist. Aaliyah, Tink, Ella Mai, Sinead Harnett, Khalid, Roy Woods or Bazzi, just to name a few.
If tape decks were still around, what 5 songs would automatically get on your mixtape?
No Scrubs by TLC
BMO by Ari Lennox
Herside Story by GoldLink, Hare Squead
Good Bad by Ella Mai
G.O.M.D by J. Cole
How do you envision your music being enjoyed?
Imagine you’re in a room with 4 people you love. Everyone is sprawled around the room, relaxing and enjoying each other's company. Favorite snacks are being passed around, wine and beer bottles are being cracked open, deep conversations start to arise, all while Naomi Cheyanne is bumping in the background. I just want people to vibe to my music.
Are you planning any live shows?
Eventually. I got a few other exciting projects I want to finish up first.
What would your 13-year-old self think about the music you make?
She would love it. My 13-year-old self loves sad songs with upbeat sounds. My music is the type of music she would secretly sing while she’s crying. I know, typical dramatic teenager.
Bottom Line: It’s nothing new production-wise, but the writing on BAD SAD EP is a strong start for Naomi Cheyanne. I’m can’t help but wonder how her voice would sound with live instruments.
The Best: Heyy The So-So: Fight It, BAD SAD The Meh: IDY
First Listen: 7.5/10
Deep listen: 7/10
The album is available on streaming sites everywhere. T-Shirts for $20 and Hoodies for $30. Further information is available on Naomi's Instagram page, @naomicheyannemusic.
Llama Ruckus is an aspiring songwriter and producer from Atlanta, Georgia. His primary genre is trip-hop; blends of elements from funk, surf rock, chill hop, blues, synthpop, and psychedelic rock/jazz.