In many ways it feels this album was way too long in the making...
To recap: London-based Roucheon is a mother
of three young boys, a singer/songwriter, she
dabbles in fashion design and is a rapper - among
Plus, she has - along with husband Femi (aka
Smooflow) - been a constant fixture in the evolving
lineup of Royal Priesthood for about a decade or so.
I suppose when I look at it that way she's probably had
her plate full with a few other things before now :-)
For huge fans like me though, 'Love Royelle', (released in April) is the eventual manifestation of the clear promise she'd shown across pretty much all ten of Royal Priesthood's previous projects over the years.
Gifted with a knack for writing and voicing sweet, catchy hooks as well as more complex melodies and lyrics (in some respects channelling classic Lauryn Hill), 'Love Royelle' possesses what her press release describes as 'genuine heart'.
And - without wanting to fall into a hyperbole trap - it is certainly a very interesting set; an engaging blend of sample-based contemporary Hip-hop fused with generous doses of nostalgia.
Produced by Smooflow and Roucheon herself, the press release goes on to describe it as 'a deeply personal album, running the gamut from affairs of the heart, set against a sonic backdrop displaying the remarkable talent of this young native of Zimbabwe...'
Much to Recommend
There's much to engage Hip-hop fans in 'Love Royelle', but - more importantly - this is a project that could find resonance with people who aren't necessarily fans of the genre. 'Love Royelle' crosses the line between old-school Soul and Hip-hop largely to good effect.
There's much to recommend it, but I'd suggest checking out 'Midnight Melody' (Groove Mix) (its R. Kelly 'Step in the Name of Love' sample, overlaid with a muted trumpet loop gives it a lovely summer vibe), 'Golden Rain', 'Never Gone' and title track 'Love Royelle' as great places to start. Somehow I suspect different people will end up with their own personal favourites for a host of different reasons.
All in all 'Love Royelle' is an excellent project to add to the sadly infrequent output from female artists in UK gospel - and even then I suspect the 'Jesus in every line' crew might dispute my definiton of this album as a 'gospel' release.
Be that as it may, this is one set I'm happy to recommend you check out. Much head-nodding, contemplative enjoyment and musical goodness await...