Artists To Watch in 2017: Bonzai
One thing that this writer has noticed in 2016 is that R&B is being transformed into something totally new. With albums by Childish Gambino and Solange emerging with R&B tones blended with traditional funk and smooth electronica, you can hear that the classic genre is evolving into something so much more. Another artist who elevates this is BONZAI, and she will no doubt continue to do this throughout 2017.
We first got a glimpse of this unique artist when she released ‘I Did’, a track that the American-born singer completely blew us away with. This release came after Bonzai had already been a backing vocalist for NAO and released two EP’s on Mura Masa’s new record label (she also features on his massive tune, ‘What If I Go?’). We were a bit late to the party would be an understatement, but the good news is that her music is only just beginning to take over the world and ‘I Did’ was just the tip of the iceberg.
With arpeggiated synths and some spectacular percussion, ‘I Did’ injected pop into the R&B core and tops it off with some hip-hop elements for good measure. In a nutshell, the song’s a banger and came out just before ‘Cruel’, a track that highlighted Bonzai’s versatility.
The simplistic melody paved the way for distorted vocals to take centre stage, and soon you start to be drawn into a very transient state. You let the music wash over you, and ‘Cruel’ opened our eyes to Bonzai’s talent, making us realise that she has a lot more to give.
October 28 saw the release of her EP Lunacy which included both ‘I Did’ and ‘Cruel’. Each track on the EP showed how talented the 20-year-old is at musical production, and that she is able to utilise basic R&B elements in an unconventional setting.
Bonzai has proved throughout 2016 that she is a musical force to be reckoned with and in 2017, we can expect her to blow up on a global scale. Watch this space because we’ll be watching her musical trajectory like our lives depend on it.
Words by Lauren Payne