By Tiffany Lewers
Featured on Kanye West’s “All Falls Down”, Chicago vocalist Syleena Johnson is making her way back into the music scene, and this time she’s standing like a stone wall. An acoustic guitar accompanies one of the most underrated and soulful voices of our time, as her vocal riffs set the tone for her new EP, Acoustic Soul Sessions. Released on Sept. 25, Johnson is letting listeners know that this record, though short, will be one to remember.
Acoustic Soul Sessions takes listeners through a live vocal journey. The seven-track EP allows old and new fans alike to appreciate the soulful power of Johnson’s voice. The first track, “A Boss,” kick starts the compilation with an upbeat and modern feminist theme. The track blatantly tells all male listeners that Johnson can do for herself and needs no man to rescue her. Throughout the EP, Johnson shows off her aggressive, humorous, and loving personality, directing her musicians and back-up vocalists during tracks and keeping the audience alive in between sets.
The EP really does an amazing job at speaking to Johnson’s female listeners and hopefully lights a fire under some of the men. It’s not only touching and empowering, but it also manages to reach places deep inside of a person that many modern R&B records fail to do. In listening to each track I found myself relating or yearning for something she so beautifully voiced. Tracks like “I Cut My Hair,” introduced this idea of letting go of such a superficial part of oneself in order to start anew and make a statement to anyone who tried to break you. Johnson ends the EP with “Stone Wall,” a song that lifts listeners and tries to give them the courage to withstand any battles they may face.
Syleena Johnson is truly a talent who I believe has not received the proper recognition. Her vocal abilities are incomparable, and she creates some of the most beautiful music in R&B and soul. Acoustic Soul Sessions is available now on iTunes.