Album: Yazmin Lacey – Voice Notes

Photo by Nina Manandhar.

Do yourself a favour and listen to Voice Notes, the debut album from Nottingham-based, East London-raised soul singer Yazmin Lacey. With help from executive producer Dave Okumu, Notes is a sultry contemporary jazz album with hits of R&B, funk, and soul, all melding to create an album that is uniquely Lacey.

Per the title, the album begins by immediately leaving us a voice note, an intimate snippet from daily life. The second track moves into a decidedly jazzier feel, and you can hear influences from mainstream voices who came before her – Amy Winehouse and Macy Gray – as well as voices that are popular today – Jazmine Sullivan and Adele. If these are just her voice notes, we’re dying to hear the work she considers refined.

Lacey says she got into the game late. Music is something that can be enjoyed at any age, yet the industry places such importance on youth. As evidenced by Lacey, truly phenomenal work comes with age, with wisdom and a life lived, with perspective and truth and the ability to articulate it, not just through words but through rhythm and melodies, as Lacey did so beautifully here. She stunningly weaves themes of love, self-discovery, and epiphany into tracks like “Sign and Signal,” a jazzy and funky bit, as well as tracks like “Pieces,” which are sultry and raw. And cuts like “Pass It Back,” which are brilliantly produced, shouldn’t be overlooked either.

The instrumentals in Voice Notes are stunning, but they take a rightful backseat to the vocals, which are as much a honed instrument as any other sound on this album. Lacey is a force, and this album is as good a debut as any.

Acacia Deadrick

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