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Album Review: “P R E S S U R E” by Rochelle Jordan

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Released independently as a free download in 2011, Toronto songstress Rochelle Jordan released her debut EP, R O J O – an adventurous, multi-layered joyride showcasing promise and an equal footing in the R&B of the 90s and the future. She makes a clear step forward with her second EP, P R E S S U R E, released digitally in August 2012.

As implied by the title, P R E S S U R E underscores conflict and tension, specifically in romantic relationships. Written entirely by Jordan and intricately produced by PROTOSTAR producer KLSH, the record closes in on a specific vibe, both sonically and vocally. Her influences are obvious – the fluttery coos of Aaliyah and the slick vocal layering of Amerie’s heyday, among others. Yet, Jordan manages to fuse them into a singular style and sound that is uniquely hers throughout the record’s twelve tracks. Meanwhile, KLSH’s minimalist and atmospheric productions are approached completely with swirling synths, pulsing bass lines and menacing, snare-driven drums. This provides ample room for Jordan to explore textures and rhythmic patterns of her detailed and impassioned lyrics.

The first e-single, “Losing”, is a downbeat lament to the sacrifices made in the name of a strained relationship. Equally alluring as it is chilling, it is a tender and deeply intimate moment that very few unsigned artists are willing to display in their early musical offerings. Elsewhere, Jordan aims to please her lover on the frenetic up-tempo title track, reminisces on a past love on “Could’ve Been” and is haunted by that same former love in a new setting on “Somebody”. Elsewhere, her frustrations with insecure and dismissive men are laid out with serious bite and sass on “You Ain’t My Man” and “Too Long”. However, it is on the spare “Shotgun” where Jordan wallows in the beautiful anguish of the end of a relationship, brilliantly winding up with what is the record’s best vocal performance.

Hailing from Toronto, home of fellow artists like Drake and The Weeknd, Rochelle Jordan is a welcome addition to those following independent R&B music and is sure to delight fans with her distinct sound.

Determination: A Profile of Nivea Jackson

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Determination: A Profile of Nivea Jackson

As a Crown Heights, Brooklyn transplant settling in Long Island, New York for the next four years at SUNY Old Westbury, Nivea Jackson is enjoying herself and her new surroundings. “Brooklyn is dirty. I don’t like it. In Long Island, you can smell the fresh air and the difference. It’s more my speed. I want to live out here in the future.” Her eyes wander around the Campus Center building before settling upon a group of students walking up a flight of stairs. She doesn’t usually “click with females” but she finds herself easily relatable. The proof is evident by her infectious personality and engaging conversational skills.

Nivea Jackson is majoring in Psychology at SUNY Old Westbury as a backup for pursuit of success in the Mortuary Science industry. She currently has notched three mortuary internships and definitely plans to add more to her impressive history. She tends to keep to herself, but is fascinated by observing human behavior; how they operate and think. She admits that she is the second in her family to go to college. One would imagine that she would feel a certain level of pressure? “Nah, not at all. I’m determined”, she quips, exuding a quiet confidence that matches her statement.

After the death of her mother at age one and not having contact with her father, Nivea went through a series of failed adoptions before becoming a ward of the state of New York. While this may be seen as an extra hurdle to some, Nivea has added that to her will to succeed. “It just makes me that much more focused. When it comes to me, there can’t be any excuses for failure.”