New Zealand born, Brisbane raised, London transplant artist Jordan Rakei is as diverse in his upbringing as he is in his music, infusing and weaving various genres with ease. Rakei originally made the move out to London after receiving praise for his Groove Curse EP and would go on to collaborate with artists like Tom Misch and Disclosure. While the influences of London and the artists he has worked with can be found within Rakei’s work, it still manages to maintain a quality and forward-looking nature that makes it uniquely its own.
“Nerve,” the first single off his sophomore album Wallflower sees Rakei making the most of both his more recent and past influences to craft a lush genre-infusing single. Opening on Rakei’s talkative vocal stylings, “Nerve” immediately emanates an inviting air enclosed with a sense of vulnerability. Matching Rakei’s alluring vocals are a series of transfixing bass lines and inconspicuous guitar licks, thanks to Dave Okumu of The Invisibles who has shown a penchant for having an ear for rising UK talent. The warm groove found on “Nerve” is in dual parts due to the permeation of old-school jazz and soul influences present, in addition to the sincerity poised in the lyrics, as Rakei explains,
“The song is about the concept of loving yourself wholly and truly before you offset that love onto others”
The sentiment reverberates throughout the entirety of “Nerve,” as Rakei questions himself over and over, inviting the listener into his own world of self-questioning and discovery. The answer to the series of questioning may never come to fruition, but the final concept presented is a holistic one, requiring no such single definitive answer. Much in the same way Rakei has continuously gone through a process of self-exploration and discovery in his own music, he presents this very road to self-realization on “Nerve,” all packaged within a timeless blend of jazz, soul, and the modern sounds of his adopted UK.
Listen to “Nerve” below and keep an eye out for Wallflower due out September 22 on Ninja Tune: