Wednesday 29 May 2019

'AHLKE' by Freya Roy

'AHLKE' marks the exciting debut album from vocalist, writer, producer, guitarist and pianist, Freya Roy.

From Norwich, UK, and a graduate of Leeds College of Music – where she was a student of the Abstract Orchestra saxophonist and band leader Rob Mitchell – as well as having attended Birmingham Conservatoire where she studied Jazz & Production and Jazz Guitar, respectively, anticipation has been incredibly high for the release of Roy's debut album.

Spearheaded by the exquisitely infectious groove of lead single 'Midnight Train' and the subsequent follow-up single '22 Movements' (with its accompanying performance-based video), Roy is an artist who very much wears her influences on her sleeve.  Touting the work of performers like Jill Scott, Esperanza Spalding and Robert Glasper as strong sources of inspiration, Roy skilfully interweaves varying elements of R&B, neo-soul and jazz and fuses them into something distinctly her own.  And while 'Midnight Train' and '22 Movements' are excellent introductions to ‘AHLKE’, each of the album's tracks are standouts in their own right: from the late night jazz-inspired 'Sensations', the dreamy and sublime nature of 'Say Something' and the undeniable sing-a-long spirit of 'Breathe'.

The music throughout the album is brought to life by an excellent array of musicians including Sam Williams on bass, Alex Fisher on saxophone, keyboards and synthesizer by Taz Modi (who this year celebrated the release of his own debut solo record, 'Reclaimed Goods') and Simon Beddoe of the Submotion Orchestra appearing on Flugel Horn.  The Submotion Orchestra connections are extended with the presence of producer/musician Dom "Ruckspin" Howard tackling the album's mixing duties throughout.

'AHLKE' introduces listeners to a confident and charismatic young artist in complete creative control of her music.  Credited as the album's writer, composer and producer and released through her own FCR label, 'AHLKE' actually reaches inspirational-levels of creative success and is very much symbolic of the beacon she had hoped the project would be for others.  The album's original Crowdfunding video, published in September 2018, stated that Roy hoped the album would go on to "inspire women, LGBTQ artists and industry minorities", but frankly, how could any young, UK-based artist look at the achievements laid out over these nine tracks and not be inspired?!

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