If You Like: Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., John Legend
They say music has healing powers. It’s something that can be traced back through countless cultures and communities. Whether good or bad, music plays a major part in the way we are shaped. As another art form, it takes various amounts of practice to blend one world into another. If managed to be harnessed, you end up with a beautiful garden of tunes. Candian R&B blues singer Emanuel Assefa, known professionally as Emanuel, invites listeners into a vibrant world fueled by only the mind and sweet sounds of modern blues.
At first glance, there’s something very much unique in Emanuel’s work. It’s not entirely old-school blues, but not rooted in the watered-down blues of today. When Emanuel speaks, the entire world listens. His vocal presence commands respect with each guitar stroke. Like a grandfather gathering the children around a bay window for a story, so does Emanuel with his music. With a mature-like demeanor, Emanuel slowly through the tales of heartbreak and unrequited love. The R&B singer breaks down the production and interweaves lo-fi rap verses.
Emanuel began to garner a taste of mainstream success when his work appeared in a video applying to Idris Elba’s social media request for a project. Emanuel released his debut EP, Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion, in June 2020. At the end of the year, Emanuel released a follow-up EP, Alt Therapy Session 2: Transformation. Emanuel’s first EP was nominated at the 2021 Juno Awards for Traditional R&B/Soul Recording of the Year. From there, Emanuel has continued to push the boundary of one of the oldest music genres in the world. It was clear how Emanuel was using his time during the pandemic. Tweaking and redefining the blues scene could position him to revive it.
Layered in between the often melancholy piano, Emanuel doesn’t try to hide his emotion. There are times when you can hear the rising emotions overtake him but he stands tall. It’s been a few weeks since Emanuel released his debut studio album, Alt Therapy. Early on in his career, Emanuel has established a very strong baseline. The album is very raw and will have you looking inwards to fix what you hate about yourself. At the end of the day, the album provides just what the title suggests. Emanuel’s music is an alternative to outdated therapy, one that you should plan to keep on call.