From DR Congo to Montreal, Canada, pop vocalist and singer-songwriter The Black Karl sets our speakers ablaze with his debut 13-track album, Six Elah.
Born Kerith-Exaucé Chirhalwirwa, the Montreal-based singer-songwriter first made waves after earning the Intercultural Music and Dance Festival 2019 Best Overall Performance and American Inspiration Award. Not to mention his performance of "In My Head" by Ariana Grande on Global News.
This time around, The Black Karl is catching the eyes and ears of more listeners with the release of his 13-track debut album, Six Elah.
The album opens with the heavenly introductory interlude, "Angelic Voices (Intro)." The Black Karl's cosmic and airy vocals serenade us with stunning choir-esque harmonies that bring a sweet sense of anticipation for what's to come.
Before we know it, we hop into track number two, "Mister DJ," which kicks off with plucky pop synths and driving drums to ramp up the energy. This beaming yet mysterious pop single brings a ton of emotion, all while The Black Karl serenades us overtop of groovy synth arrangements and a tender pop atmosphere. It's quite a feel-good single that opens the album with a bang.
Onto the third track, "Benefits," we jump into a slower groove with a plucky electric guitar and warm pop snaps alongside The Black Karl's breathy and passionate vocals. While singing of missing someone and wishing to be more than friends, The Black Karl leaps into the vibrant hook where he unleashes his harmonious and powerful vocals for listeners to relish. This is another uplifting and feel-good track that helps us understand The Black Karl's music much more.
Slowing things down with track number four, "Runaway," we're met with a jazzy and tender saxophone alongside soothing piano melodies. As The Black Karl drifts into an emotional r&b style, the soft lo-fi drums bounce through our speakers while we reach the deeply emotional and heart-wrenching hook. We love the vulnerability The Black Karl brings to this personal track, and the delicate instrumentals bring a whole other soothing aspect.
On track number five, "Savage (I Wish I Was Like My Sister)," we jump into this unique trap atmosphere with crisp snares and hi-hats that leap into a bouncy and uplifting verse. The Black Karl pays a playful yet endearing homage to his sister, a savage who's not afraid to grind it out and not take shit from anyone. The song's blend of pop, trap, and r&b is truly sonically delicious.
Ramping up the sweet pop vibes is track number six, "Lost in Kentucky," which opens with spacey and cosmic synths that jump into a vibrant and groovy pop beat. The Black Karl's breathy and soft vocals float through our speakers with so much emotion and vulnerability while singing of how someone left him high and dry and wondering if they'll ever return. It's a soulful and cathartic modern-day pop ballad that many of us can resonate with.
Reaching the album's seventh track and halfway point, "Raja Debel," our ears sink into perhaps the most unique instrumental of the album. Plucky drum-like synths and punchy trap drums alongside growling sub-bass bring us deep into this song's atmosphere while The Black Karl steams the scene with his quick, witty bars about "Raja Debel." It's an incredibly stimulating tune that'll make you feel like you're on a whole other level.
Turning up the passion is track number eight, "A Promise to My Lover," which sweetly opens with a haunting vocal alongside gentle piano melodies. As the bright trap drums begin tapping through our speakers, The Black Karl sends us into a blissful and chilling r&b atmosphere while paying homage to someone special. Time and again, The Black Karl leaves us impressed with his ability to express his emotions in such a cathartic and ear-pleasing way.
Keeping the vibes at a high is the album's ninth track, "Say It Louder, I'm Bored," vibrantly kicking over our speakers with bright electric guitar riffs alongside an upbeat Afrobeat vibe. The Black Karl brings all the passion and radiance we could ask for, swooning listeners with his dynamic vocals and lively instrumentals. It's a fiery yet introspective tune that helps us get to know The Black Karl on a more personal note.
On track number ten, "Lie to Me," we hear what is perhaps the most personal and emotional song on the album. The Black Karl's vocal delivery alongside the tender strings and downtempo acoustic guitar brings such palpable emotion while he sings of a turbulent relationship and tries to forgive and forget. It's a chilling and cathartic piece that takes us deep into The Black Karl's emotions.
Reaching the album's eleventh and title track, "Six Elah," we melt into a spacey and ethereal electric guitar melody alongside the sweetest synths that send us straight to cloud nine. The Black Karl's poised and radiant vocals bring so much passion that we can't help but fall head over heels for this atmospheric and vibe-heavy tune. It's quite the sensual and alluring single that sees another passionate side of The Black Karl.
Drifting into the album's twelfth track, "Heartbeat," The Black Karl blesses us with a shimmering sonic atmosphere through plucky, nostalgic synths and driving trap drums that heat the scene effortlessly. This song feels like it's straight out of the early 2000s r&b/pop charts; it's a groovy and passionate head bopper packed with rich harmonies, The Black Karl's charismatic performance, and an infectious groove.
Landing on the album's thirteenth and outro track, "Lose My Mind," The Black Karl jumps into a bright and beaming pop anthem while serenading us with dreamy lyrics about losing himself when in someone's sweet presence. The Black Karl blesses our speakers for the last time on the album with his playful performance and infectious desire. There's a whimsical and romantic vibe to this song that closes the album on a highly refreshing and feel-good note.
An engaging, dreamy, and dynamic listening experience isn't so out of reach when you have The Black Karl's debut album, Six Elah. When you're ready to groove, find the new record on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, The Black Karl. Congratulations on releasing your jam-packed debut album, Six Elah. When did you first start feeling inspired to create this album? How long did it take to create?
Thank you for having me. It’s unbelievable, but I started writing some songs in December 2019, so it basically took 3 years to get the project ready.
Did you have a concept or theme that you wanted to bring forth with the album, Six Elah? What would you say the album is about?
Honestly, I’ve always been pictured as a lover boy, which I have no problem with. But it comes with restrictions like people expect you to always write R&B or Pop songs about love or heartbreak (which are also in the album, lol). But I really wanted to touch every subject that personally matters to me. So I made it about everything. Love, Heartbreak, Family, Friendship… And genre-wise, I really showcase my versatility with obviously Pop, R&B, and some slow jam and trap.
Did you have any artistic influences or projects in mind when creating Six Elah?
Oh, yes, of course. For the artistic direction and the cohesion of the tracks, I was really inspired by the album Human by Brandy. The recording process is Ariana Grande inspired for most of the songs. For the delivery of the energy, the queen herself, Beyoncé. Production wise I always say it’s all Kanye. He’s a beast when it comes to producing tracks cause there’s always that element of surprise in his productions. So I really tried, haha. Now for the R&B vibes, it’s my boy Chris Brown.
Which song from Six Elah stands out to you the most and why? Do you have a favorite song from the album?
They’re all my babies, haha. But I’d say it depends on the day. But obviously, the stand-out tracks would be ‘Mister DJ’ & ‘Raja Debel’, cause they’re really different from what people do these days but still very ear-friendly. But ngl, ‘Savage’ and ‘Heartbeat’ really got me in a chokehold for a hot moment.
On a more personal note, what do you stand for as an artist and want to represent? How do projects like Six Elah help you reach that?
As an artist, I want to inspire. I want my people, the ones who listen to me, to know that they’re not alone; they’re allowed to feel, do pursue their dreams, and that difficulties of all kinds can’t stop them. We’re warriors over here! I’m pretty sure not everyone gets the lyricism of ‘Six Elah’ because most of those upbeat songs are actually really sad or inspired by sadness, and it really helped me overcome that. I also hope it helps whoever is out there.
What's next for you?
Currently filming some music videos for some of the songs, and I already have a Deluxe Version ready for very soon!