Fresh Finds Fridays: Hot New R&B Music From H.E.R., Kenyon Dixon, Layton Greene, Otis Kane, And More

ThisIsRnB presents Fresh Finds Fridays; The Hottest R&B Releases Of The Week featuring new music from H.E.R., Kenyon Dixon, Layton Greene, Otis Kane, and more.

Then and now. Past and present. This week in R&B has been all about acknowledging the groundwork laid by the forefathers while passing the baton to the next generation of musicians. Nothing demonstrated this better than Berklee College of Music presenting honorary Doctor of Music degrees to Roberta Flack as well as Usher. 

H.E.R. joined forces with revered songwriter Diane Warren for her new single “The Journey.” Brandy’s baby girl Sy’Rai Smith, going by just her first name, has set out to form a musical legacy of her own with the official video release for debut single “On My Own.” The same goes for Amaka as she dropped her sophomore single as a solo act. While Kenyon Dixon enlisted the help of Kevin Ross to subtly pay homage to the funk group Zapp. on “Slow Dancing (Remix).”

Check out this week’s Fresh Finds Fridays selections featuring H.E.R., Kenyon Dixon, Amaka, Layton Greene, Otis Kane, and Sy’Rai. Then, in the comment section, let us know what new releases you’re listening to.

H.E.R. – “The Journey”

Grammy and Oscar Award-winning musician H.E.R. isn’t letting her massive professional workload stop her from getting into the recording booth. Last year, the singer made history as The first Filipina Disney princess, in the role of Belle for the company’s Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration television special. Since then between several notable brand endorsements, H.E.R. has been locked away on the set of the musical film adaption of The Color Purple slated to hit theaters at the end of the year. 

While these accomplishments are beautifully laid out to the public, reaching these heights of success has come with many obstacles.  Teaming up with legendary songwriter extraordinaire Diane Warren, on her new song “The Journey,” H.E.R. gives fans an emotional appetizer of the road she’s traveled. 

As H.E.R. sings, “I have been to sorrow / I have been to bliss / Where I’ll be tomorrow / I can only guess / Through the darkest desert / Through the deepest snow / Forward, always forward, I go,” the sorrows she’s kept buried down jumps to the forefront but is quickly followed up with a sense of hope.

During an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, the entertainer opened up about recording the track saying, “It was the first take it was such an emotional experience for me, so it just happened.”

Later adding, “It wasn’t anything I had to like, ‘All right, let me try to get this note.’ I wasn’t even planning on singing that high. I never sang that high on a record before, actually. I can’t really put it into words how everything kind of happened. I really believe it was from God because it’s just, it’s crazy.” 

Kenyon Dixon – “Slow Dancing (Remix)” feat. Kincy and Kevin Ross

Last year, Kenyon Dixon was dubbed the people’s prince of R&B thanks to the acclaim his album, Closer received. However, instead of rightfully coasting along on the wave of success the project has garnered, the singer has dropped new music. Originally released in March, his latest single, “Slow Dancing” has continued to gain steam across streaming platforms. 

Co-produced by Marquis Curtis, Chris Daniels, and Frank Rose, the track pays homage to the signature groove iconic funk group Zapp popularized in the 1980s. Pulling in vocalist Kevin Ross on the remix elevated the song to new heights. 

The inspiration behind the original track as well as the remix is quite simple — music meant for the grown and sexy. Instead of providing an elaborate backstory to the song’s formation, Dixon took to Instagram to have a laugh with fans. Innocently joking with fans, the entertainer suggested that Kevin Ross was selected for the guest select by AI. However, there’s nothing artificial about this collaboration. Along with Kincy, Kenyon Dixon and Kevin Ross return to R&B’s roots.

AMAKA – “Leave It Behind”

Being a solo artist after finding success in a group isn’t easy. However, Amaka makes it look quite easy. In her past work as part of the sibling duo, VanJess, the group’s discography was packed with all the classic elements of R&B. Now standing on her own, Amaka has found a way of incorporating the sound fans have come to expect from her while at the same time exploring into electronic and dance music. 

On her second single, “Leave It Behind,” produced by Grammy Award-winning artist Kaytranada, the pair dive further into this mixing pot of sounds. Toting those sonic lines Amaka hits it out of the park delivering a stellar follow-up to debut single, “Crusin’.”

In a statement shared with the media, chronicling the nexus of the song, Amaka said, “[Leave It Behind] a song I wrote about letting all your worries go and enjoying life. I wrote it from the perspective of being in that space and wanting whoever is around me to join in and absorb that same energy: having a good time and being present in the moment no matter what life has thrown your way.”

Layton Greene – “Spin Again

 Budding singer Layton Greene is making her return to music as well. After stepping away to focus on motherhood, Greene time a short break from the industry. The musician prepared her fans for her return by appearing on the sexy songs Tink’s “Drunk Text’n” and Moone Walker’s “Lizzo Shemix” along with Cupcakke. 

Keeping in the sensual arena, Layton Greene’s new single “Spin Again” is all about being controlled by lust. Produced by G Styles On The Track and La’Chaz Holloway, Greene has no problem bragging about what makes her so addicted to her lover as she sings, “I’m d*ckmatized and I can’t even say I’m mad / It’s rainin’ while you pull my hair, I throw it back /That’s that water, yeah / You got that sh*t that I need.”

On Instagram, the entertainer shared a message with fans about the track, writing, “[Spin Again] is just the beginning and I just want to thank you guys for being so patient with me. my heart is so full and i’m so excited for this next chapter.”

Otis Kane – “Pieces”

In 2021, Otis Kane made a splash in the indie R&B circuit with the release of his project ‘Purple Blue. ‘ Throughout 2022, the singer built upon that momentum by touring the world. As the musician prepares for his next release, Kane has released a string of singles including “Good Life” and “Kaleidoscope.” His latest song “Pieces” is the cherry on top. 

Produced entirely by himself with shared writing credits between Cedric Mitchell and himself, “Pieces” is dreamily formulated to bring out the listener’s inner romantic. 

As Kane sings, “The pieces of your heart got me falling / I just want to know if you’re all in baby / Every time I look out the window / The picture of our love starts to fall in place / All of I do every ime I wake up thinking of you / I was searching for us, something true / I was searching for a sign.” 

“Pieces” is yet another example of just how special Otis Kane is as a multi-hyphenate (songwriter, singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist).  

Sy’Rai  – “On My Own”

The nepo baby conversation has officially died down on social media and that’s a great thing for Sy’Rai. As the daughter of legendary singer Brandy, those are some pretty big shoes to fill already with the publicist input. However, Sy’Rai is up for the challenge. With past experience in the booth with her mother, the singer has applied all that she’s learned on her solo debut single “On My Own.” 

Co-produced by Jared “Reezy Tunez” Thorne and Keyz Bridgez, it’s crystal clear that the vocal apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. 

That track was co-written by Sy’Rai, Eric Bellinger and Jaysen C Stewart makes that bold declaration that she’s here to forge her own path in the industry and will not rest on the legacy her family has built as she sings, “Think I finally arrived, it was so far from luck / Greatness is up to me and I’m makin’ the choice / I been takin’ my time and I ain’t in a rush / I don’t wanna miss anything, it’ll cost me too much.”

R&B

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