Sometimes music is the one antidote for the sickness you feel during the turbulent bumps life's unpredictable journey has to offer.
It's this sort of sentiment that comes appended to the impossible journey Justin Thomas—the Emmy festooned Songster performing under the R&B Moniker "J-Llyfe"—has taken to get here.
During his time wrestling with a cancer diagnosis, the Birmingham-bred Intoner found solace in the sonic tertulias bordering between James Brown, Ceelo Green, and Fantasia Barrino, and as a result, his latest single reaches with heavy-dripping nostalgia under the roof of his latest single, " The Alchemy."
On this latest Contemporary R&B ventures, J-Llyfe calls up the hugging harmonics festooning Sharaé's fluttering in the Hook. As she chaperones us through the radiating pathways of her wandering serenade, J-Llyfe, evaporates into existence. He's dripping and oozing with Gospel-reminiscent expressiveness, which coruscates atop his voice; think Sam Smith meets Maxwell during his prime.
It all happens over a production garnished with the usual suspects you'd expect from a timeless classic—earthy punch of vintage-sounding drums, synths that masterfully slide along their modulation pads, and a feathery bass that lands like a tonne of bricks—all while the two crooning intoners synergize throughout their bordering verses. During the fleshiest bits of this sonic swan-dive, and as they decry after one another, "tantalizing, empathizing, realizing, the Alchemy," a tape rewinds, and marks the final spin through the effervescent spaces of "The Alchemy's" infatuating chorus.
When looking back, the panorama of kaleidoscopic harmonies flooding from every corner of Justin Thomas' musical catalogs shouldn't come as a surprise by now.
The hard-earner has succeeded in every creative venture he's set his mind to, from music supervision Emmys, to being a notoriety MC and Director even before this masterfully arranged track dropped, and he's got everyone itching to see what he'll do next.
Hello J-Llyfe and Sharaé and thank you for joining us at BuzzMusic. What emotions were you both channeling into for "The Alchemy" and its vocal performances?
J-Llyfe: The emotions I channeled were being as vulnerable as possible. Stripping away walls that are usually placed in front as protection and placing them behind me. The idea of knowing that I was covered by my partner made the equivalent exchange and experience an easy fall. I was excited in addition to having this project being a duet and allowing me to show off my vocal range.
Sharaé: The emotions that I wanted to embody were the initial excitement and butterflies you get in the honeymoon stage of the relationship. Vocally, I also remember us being cognizant of and playing off each other. Love just like creating music is a give and take.
Can you dive more in-depth behind the narrative found in "The Alchemy" and the meaning it carries for you personally as J-Llyfe and Sharaé?
Sharaé: Alchemy explores the many stages of love, from the butterflies stage to that stage when all the walls come down and you’re comfortable being yourself completely with the other person.
J-Llyfe: I couldn’t agree with her more. I think also for me the song itself came from personal experience in another art form which is dance. I have the pleasure of being in the house band for one of NYC’s livest events called “LayeRhythm!” This event takes improvisation and cultivates it in the center of the dance floor. Layered on top of the idea of topics pulled at random from the audience. That’s love, it's a dance that you got to find your rhythm too. The old cliche saying dance like nobody watching. If you only focus on you and your partner blocking out everybody else you can’t miss a beat.
What was the most memorable part about working with each other for "The Alchemy"?
J-Llyfe: The most memorable part I would have to cheat and say all of it. Sharaé and I have worked on multiple projects before but this was the most hands-on because it was content we could control. I remember telling her one day I wrote a song and that I thought she would kill it. She kind of gave me this blank stare and laughed after I finished singing. I was like, “ok now you try!” She replied, “let me sit with it and get back to you.” To make a long story short, the rest was history. I appreciated the trust she placed in me not only as a writer but as a scene partner and finally as a director. There were a lot of laughs.
Sharaé: Aww that’s so sweet. I really enjoyed this entire process too but shooting the video was the most memorable part for me. As he said, we’ve worked together a lot but never at this level. I had so much fun laughing and joking around with J-Llyfe on the set of the video. He’s the best scene partner!
What would you say stood as the secret ingredient behind your collaboratory success so far?
Sharaé: If we told you, it wouldn’t be a secret LOL! I’ll just say great friends are hard to find and J-Llyfe is a great friend.
J-Llyfe: You heard her lol. When she talks I listen and it all matters. We support each other.
What can fans anticipate to hear next from you J-Llyfe?
Fans can anticipate even more music after this. I’m not the type of artist to get into the quantity battle. When it feels right, I pull out the pad and just let my ink wonder. I enjoy creating conception pieces so the next project will be just that so stay tuned. This won’t be the last time Sharaé and I work together either *cough cough.