In November 2018, I was on the search for new artists and was scrolling through R&B playlists when the title “Roll Some Mo” caught my eye and moved me to press play. Immediately I was immersed into the track’s intro of light guitar strumming and a hum that sounded almost ethereal. From his outros feeling like a live band concert to his artistry being funk music personified, his first single “Roll Some Mo” was just the first taste to the celestial experience that is Daye’s music.
Funk music is often described as “hypnotic”, “soulful”, “groovy” and “energetic” which all define the New Orleans native. Daye’s influences of The Gap Band and Rick James explain his detailed ear to what will get people both feeling and moving to his music. But, there are tracks on his debut album, Painted, like “Misunderstood” and “Concentrate” that remind you of how his deep dive into R&B music is what initially sparked the start of his career.
During his childhood, him and his mother were members of a church that forbade secular music. After they left when he was eight, eventually at around 12 years old he found himself in love with the R&B classics of Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill. But, Daye’s biggest takeaway from his past church was learning his gift that we are blessed to hear now in his music.
“The only thing I did love about [the organization] was learning how to make music from nothing,” he told Vice. “I didn’t need a beat, a guitar, or anything.”
Through his journey of failed record deals, a promising career as a songwriter to now a recording artist, Painted is literally a canvas for Daye’s musical expression of both the pain of his past life and the ups and downs of love. He described in an interview with YouTube as it referring to “a messy wall of emotions”.
“It’s like a painting,” he said. “You throw the paint on the wall and then you create the painting. That’s how I create. A lot of people like to have what they have in mind and then paint. I don’t know how to do that.”
Him and producer D’Mile are the perfect match to put a stamp on Daye’s signature sound that has entered and taken over the hearts of lovers of real music. Daye has crystal clear, powerful vocals with an irresistible old school R&B tone filled with emotion that captivates you from the album’s start to finish.
The blaring horns, snare drum hits and funky strings are the soul of the album’s production instead of what’s typically heard in today’s music which truly makes Painted a game-changer. And, especially the fact it gets people on their feet and moving. His dedication to incorporating live instruments in his sound is clearly seen when he brought a 10-piece band with him to his NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.
Although Daye says the album was initially created for himself from his experiences of pain, isolation and longing for others’ solicitude, he evokes a sense of tender loving care that listeners find themselves indulging in for instance with the sensual track “Try Your Fire”. But along with love, there are tracks like “Floods” where his transparent lyrics connect others to his trying times of heartbreak.
Painted is an album that takes listeners into what was once pages and pages of Daye’s writing to unpack his built up feelings that we all can relate to. His vulnerability exudes through his songwriting and he has such a keen instinct of what makes people feel his music. And, it’s what makes the project of what was once puzzle pieces of his truth through EPs into one, special, and heartfelt debut.
What are your favorite songs on the album? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!