HAVING WHET the appetites of tastemakers around the world with her exquisite debut project, “Salix Babylonica”, Jamilah Barry switches gears with outspoken new single ‘Sunblock’ – the first 2019 release from this captivating artist with a powerfully voiced soul.
Raised in London and Leeds on an eclectic musical diet of Soul, R&B, Pop, Folk, Jazz, Hip Hop, Senegalese and Bollywood soundtracks alongside the Guinean music of her family heritage, Jamilah’s natural inclination is to explore and experiment beyond the traditional boxes of UK Soul/R&B, flowing “wherever feels good” with thoughtful lyrics that explore her inner and outer worlds and an intriguing sonic sophistication that belies her youth.
The 24 year old’s impressive debut project, “Salix Babylonica”, was released independently in 2018 and continues to gather critical acclaim with each new discovery; with Complex lauding “Jamilah’s best asset—her delicate yet captivating voice, which is stunning to listen to without it being over the top or try-hard,” and High Snobiety admiring “an underground act with a finger on the pulse of modern soul… She’s able to extricate emotion from inner conflict in a way that’s relatable and refreshing. When you press play on her minimalist slow burners it’s easy to get lost in her reverie.”
Beyond the critics, Jamilah’s talents earn her the respect of a host of renowned musicians – including recent performances with Nile Rodgers, Roy Ayres and serpentwithfeet – with shows at iconic London venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, Royal Festival Hall and The Jazz Café, alongside discerning collaborations with the likes of esteemed producer Jack Nichols Marcy and her recent feature on former Young People’s Laureate for London, Caleb Femi’s SLOG EP.
Returning with her new single “Sunblock,” style and substance unite effortlessly as Jamilah’s mesmerising, soulful vocals flow with shapeshifting production by frequent collaborator MIDNIGHT PHUNK, summoning a double-edged soundscape that’s both bright and brooding for the principled singer’s defiantly affirming ode to self-realisation for black women in the face of chronic social invalidation.
“‘Sunblock’ is about Black women’s constant struggles of having their experiences, lives and feelings invalidated by white people,” Jamilah explains. “Being spoken over and ridiculed for being upset. Being ’shut down’. Being labelled as ‘angry’. Having to endure ‘debate’ with those who have the audacity to negate our knowledge and believe their opinions hold the same – if not more – weight than literal facts about our lived experiences. When they have never complexly thought about race nor will ever know what it feels like.”
“Sunblock’ is also a reminder to Black women that, despite this misfortune, no one will ever be able to take away our magic. We are designed to progress without their insight. We pertain what everybody wants to embody/adopt yet never will. We are the sauce. The whole damn meal. We are the sun. And they’re never blocking out our sunlight. “