Brooklyn’s own singer-songwriter If discovered her affinity for music at the tender age of 6.
Songwriting since 2016, the now 21-year-old has unearthed a sound that fuses the rhythms of hip-hop and R&B with the warm vocals of Pop in a faultless effort. With influences from the likes of Frank Ocean, Lauryn Hill, Kendrick Lamar, and many others, If’s musical width vows to transmute feelings repressed into a voice amplified.
Wrapped up in the warmth that is radiated by the therapeutic waves of her latest single, “Be,” If has us easing into the musicality that’s existent in a way that has us sinking into our seats.
Through a lounge-like structure that is chalked full of poetic rhythm, the brilliant amalgamation of the delicate and prominent tenors weaved into “Be,” catches our attention with its organic nature. There’s dazzling ease in the cordial guitar strums that greet the laidback tempo of the tightly knit percussion patterns on display. As soon as If touches down with her soothing vocal performance, we’re introduced to a unique blend of emcee-like verses that are showcased in a melodic capsule of realism.
The intricately crafted lyrics are brought to you with an impeccable use of space that allows the impact of each word to infiltrate your thoughts in a burgeoning fashion. There’s something so grippingly raw about lyrical motifs like, ‘I can be headstrong. I can evoke fear,’ cascading through this empowering record.
Dousing us in the relevancy that is further propelled by If's voicing her mind’s inner workings, we get a striking sense of herself within this composition. Transforming the sonic exploration of “Be,” into a journey we can relate to, we’ll happily indulge ourselves in everything If.
A huge congratulations on the release of your authentically forward single, “Be.” With such intimate subject matter addressed in the realm of self-reflection, was there a particular moment or story that inspired you to create this song?
This song was actually inspired by a collection of crises that piled up between 2018-2019. I put them on the back burner to deal with whenever the time came— knowing that with my work and other responsibilities the time never would, but quarantine happened and I found myself with nowhere to run from myself. I had to sit with my problems for months and work out a solution, and eventually, I understood that sure I had been wronged... badly wronged, but also I messed up on my end as well. I reached the pinnacle of this catharsis in this song. this song is what became when my complications coalesced.
Was everyone involved in the creation process able to bring your vision to life exactly how you saw fit? With your vulnerability on display like this, did you find it easier or more difficult to let others into this piece?
Absolutely! I have a very abstract approach to almost everything I do, so at first, it was just me and the beat. the producer gave me a mellow space to kind of just unpack a lot of my shadow— which is crazy because it was almost in a sense what I do with my check-ins with the homies: we link, we set a mellow safe space, divulge, and deal with whatever has been bothering us, and that’s what eeryskies, the producer, offered me. after that, I took it to my sister then the engineer, and together they just went off. I’m fairly comfortable allowing people into my feelings when I trust them and I trust my whole circle with my life & my music is my life.
How do you allow your musical influences to speak into the music you create? What are some non-musical influences that inspire your creation?
I like to listen to artists that give full transparency and a little bit of angst, but a potent message. I try to channel that energy into my pen. most of my nonmusical influences are in the literature, film, and fashion world because those are other creative outlets. Ye, Scorsese, Shakespeare, Vivienne Westwood, Johnny Depp, and many many more
In terms of emotions surfacing, and the message instilled within, what are you hoping that your audience takes away from “Be?”
I hope and I pray that if anything they take away accountability, acceptance, and forgiveness of themselves and others. we’re all the villains in someone’s story— what’s important is we learn to honor, respect, and love ourselves and other people and if we make mistakes, which we all do, we allow space for forgiveness and compassion.
What's next for you?
To love and be loved. to create and share myself with the world. to continue to do what I love, expand in my passions, and see the world while doing it.