The Houston cantatrice Mallory Henderson started out playing in her church's choir and later went on to produce distinctive-enough contemporary R&B-Pop.
With 'Rflxn.', her first decorous full-length album after a pair of singles, she manifests a rich and creative sound. Her blood-pumping, topline-hooking approach adopts from inspirations openly but tastefully amidst vast Contemporary R&B arrangements, the soulful introspections of her past, and the more recent of her relationship troubles.
This is a gathering of addicting and ultimately prismatic passion songs from the profound capacity of a veteran vocalist, woven from her most prominent influences.
The opening eclectic-fantasias of "Rflxn." and the string quartette adorned "Who Are You" represent the vibey territory Henderson has found solid pace in following throughout her budding career, and though she toys with a mystifying cascade of vocalized samples that shine in the R&B ballad's backdrops, it never crosses the line of converting into kitsch. The notary expressiveness of a frequented piano sparks some more sheen over this profoundly affecting mix as it's endowed with a gorgeous polish.
Songs like the unremittingly melodious "Outta Time" sound like a single from an especially foamy R&B super-group, but this Houston-intoner has the enthusiasm and harmonic sense of an early-2000s Destiny's Child. These carefree toplines and lightly carbonated productions could bang into place on any fan of R&B music's playlists, yet still remaining intricately individualistic from her visible influencers.
On "Fantasy," Henderson channels her Diva energy. She sings in a calamity of adverse and ricochetting melodies from sultry stuttering samples and swirling pads, while the enamoring chanteuse repeats the wondersome hook, "Better than a fantasy," before the bridge brings forth a more fleshy and embellishing rendering of Henderson's Queen B decorated swells.
More influences are incorporated on "Feelin' Fine," still mirroring the operative and effortless control over each word's succulence and strangely affecting melody. She manifests offhand comfort in her expression with her borrowing creations that somehow still feel individualist in how transcendent she fits each track's role. This cut gains distinguishability in how its carbonated hook plays amongst vocal samples reminiscent of FKJ's eponymous record from 2017, and the way you can feel the artiste and her sentiments through each breath.
'Rflxn.' is a continual growth in the budding intoner's identity. Mallory has assembled her criteria for making music click with an aesthete's recommendation and the Contemporary blueprint strategy: the productions are designed to serve the vibes she aims for on the record.
"1 Hunnid," Henderson's debut single in the music world, is a cheery, artful summer jam that everyone can relate to, and the strangely affecting track sounds like a modern-day FM radio hit from the authority of the tropical Soca rhythm.
"Horror Story" paints a hairy memory from the chanteuse's past relationships, as it sways in a new-school swaggering breeze. Her choir foundation shows up again and again, especially on highlights like "Outta Time" and "Who Are You," and though it secures her record an entrancing tinge admirably, "Rflxn.," is just the beginning on her songs about her relationship misadventures. There is no real tastelessness here, just bubbling, and soul infusing expressiveness amongst magnetic hooks.
Hello Mallory, it's great to have you back with us at BuzzMusic. What was your mindset like going into this EP, and how do you think you've evolved as an artist after Rflxn.'s release?
I was in a reflective space. There was a lot I hadn't gotten off my chest so it was weighing heavily on me. Sometimes we don't get to say what we have to say to people, make amends, or get an understanding of situations. I had twenty-something years of that lack of closure bogging me down, so I had to give myself the closure I needed and I did that through RFLXN. Through using this EP to do that, I have learned so much about myself, but most of all, I've learned that my music is about what I want to put on a track and how I want to express myself, and nobody else should have an opinion on that matter. I also learned how to let go and pour my feelings into the music. Stay tuned.
How do you fuel your artistic spirit throughout your songwriting sessions?
I have three simple practices that keep me creative when writing: challenge myself with the type of beats and melodies I combine, don't think too much, and be real. I just let what I hear and feel come out. It is what it is.
What's been the ethos behind the music you've released thus far as a relatively new emerging artist?
I don't know if I can pinpoint one. I write what's honest for me so my thoughts and inspiration come from whatever is surrounding me. Being a young black woman already comes with a plethora of angles that inspire, but I'm also influenced by so much that everyone can relate to like love, family, friends, recreation, self-love, and more.
Do you plan on releasing an escapade of enamoring singles next, or maybe embarking on a release with an anticipated collaborator? What can we expect from you in the future?
You can expect all of the above. There's so much I want to do and I'm always writing. What order they come in, I can't say yet, but you can be assured that there's more music coming.
What has been keeping you inspired in 2020?
Most of all, I have something to prove to myself as well as goals and dreams to make come true. The older I get, the less interested I am in missing out on life and my desires in order to make sure others are taken care of, so I'm more driven than I've ever been to make whatever I want to happen. Besides that, the opportunity that we have to pivot and prosper in the middle of the chaos of 2020 keeps me motivated and excited to go out and get it every day.