WHO'S THIS: Elle Varner
FROM WHERE: Los Angeles, CA
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN: Her musical style is just as vibrant and quirky as her persona seems to be. Varner mixes old school hip-hop, soul and jazz into a fun urban hybrid. For extra measure, she includes unexpected elements into her songs to make them truly unique. (see: the fiddle in “Refill”) Add in a interesting way with words and you’ve got a complete package. On her first single, “Only Wanna Give It To You”, she compares her object of affection to a new pair of shoes saying “You’re so classic I want you more than my Adidas.”
MUSIC SOUNDS LIKE: Varner’s voice has a very jazzy overtone, which makes a lot of sense considering that Ella Fitzgerald is reportedly her biggest influence. There’s also a little raspiness there when it needs to be. Other throwbacks to the jazz age such as saxophones and upright bass sounds can be heard throughout her mixtape Conversational Lush. It’s a welcome reprieve from the not-so-R&B R&B that’s dominating the scene these days.
YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD HER ON: Her debut single, a nod to the boom bap era of hip hop and collaboration with fellow up and comer J. Cole, put her on the scene last year. However, her latest entitled “Refill” has taken over the radio the more recent months.
MUST-LISTEN TRACKS: The first track on Conversational Lush entitled “WTF” is the ultimate bad day set to music. From catching her boyfriend in bed with a dude to getting robbed, she provides a comic narrative for what sounds a day full of lose. “So Fly” promotes self-acceptance. “Ghosts” is a breezy song about a string of failed relationships with beautiful background vocals. “32 Flavors” is more akin to traditional pop fare.
IN HER OWN WORDS: “The title really encompassed how I felt about myself, reaching a point of full acceptance of who I am, how I look, how I sound. But also the album inspired the title in a sense that there’s so many imperfections on the album,” Varner said of her debut album Perfectly Imperfect to Global Grind.