There is no denying that Kenya is dripping with musical talent, and to make my point, Emma Cheuto, the 23-year-old singer/songwriter, released her debut EP, SHIFT HAPPENS, a lyrical musical R&B artistry.
Vile ninanhisi, I don’t know but I know it’s you that I came for.
That’s how the 8-track EP kicks off, with Nice Car, a song that begins with a chilled vibe, chilled beats, and not-so-chilled lyrics and goes on to become a sound that you cannot stop swaying from side to side to, as the words, beats and the beautiful voice of Emma Cheruto drown you.
Nice Car is definitely a good start for the EP.
Switch (ft Valerie Muthoni) follows and begins with a voice message from let me assume, Cheruto, wishing her loved one a Happy Anniversary.
It carries on with the same chilled R&B beats as NICE CAR, has a chorus that will make you keep on singing and then on the last verse, enters Valerie Muthoni, making the song even much better with her rap.
After these two songs, it seems, to Emma Cheruto, that we need a break from the artistry we have just heard, so she introduces an interlude (of Switch) which lasts for 45 seconds before we go to IS IT THOUGH? Yet another interlude but this one lasting more than a few seconds.
Although IS IT THOUGH? carries the same vibe as Nice Car and Switch, there is something about it that just does not make it stand out that much. The only thing that can catch your attention are these lyrics:
I like you better when I’m drunk.
This is not to say that it is a bad song. It is to say it’s a good song in a multitude of great songs that make up SHIFT HAPPENS.
Fortunately, GET UP comes next and saves the day.
GET UP starts off with this upbeat mood that was not present in the other songs. It makes you feel like for real, GETting UP and dancing. It’s good-feel music, even though the message in the lyrics are not so good-feely.
I can see GET UP easily being a favorite for most people upon hearing the album. It almost was mine, and then I heard the next song LOOK WHAT YOU DID and I found myself in a dilemma.
LOOK WHAT YOU DID is the song that completely made me, if I had not yet, fall in love with this EP.
It carries a slow rhythm with instrumentals in the background that sound like a piano and a violin. Then there are those Emma Cheruto’s mad vocals that almost seem to be at a breaking point as she sings about her heartbreak.
Honestly, the entire compilation of the song can make you cry.
But, just after you think that is end, Cheruto wakes us up with MOOD, a sassy, am-the-queen-and-am-done-with-you type of song that is a total 360 from LOOK WHAT YOU DID.
MOOD is simply a mood. There exists a no better word to describe it.
After MOOD, Emma Cheruto finally decides it is time to draw the curtains, and as her closing scene, she chooses CIRCLES, the song that most people know her by.
CIRCLES sums up her whole message of the whole album which was a navigation of the cycle of love, expressing the passionate highs and the heartbreaking lows of relationships.
If I were to choose a second favorite song (GET UP and LOOK WHAT YOU DID tying on the first position) CIRCLES will definitely be it.
It is after all how I came to know of Emma Cheruto.
But that is not why I would choose it. It is the way it starts, with Cheruto talking about how love is a cycle, the drum beats in the background as she talks, and then finally, she sings, but not for long, not before she talks again, and then finishes with singing.
And, not to mention, the message, the acceptance to be in this circle of love and be ready for it to begin all over again, despite the constant heartbreaks.
It is simply an amazing end to an amazing EP. Emma Cheruto really outdid herself.
Listen to the full EP on YouTube here.