Photo: Sophie Hur
As a child, Orion Sun dreamed of being an astronaut, now the rising R&B artist is aiming to take her listeners to an otherworldly galaxy of her own making. Born Tiffany Majette, the 23-year-old Philadelphia talent has an impeccable gift for instilling her music with a sense of weightlessness, even when the underlying sentiment is one firmly-rooted in substantial emotional weight. This juxtaposition comes to a head in Orion Sun's light-as-air yet poignant debut album, Hold Space For Me.
Hold Space For Me arrives a deeply personal outing, and it is a notion felt from the outset. "Lightning" and its crackling fuzz gives the impression of a record fashioned within a wholly intimate setting. It is an ambient texture that resurfaces time and time again throughout Orion Sun's 11-track debut, providing a grounding texture for the Philadelphia artist's lyricism that borders on stirring poetry.
This sung poetry backed by otherworldly neo-soul instrumentation and the crackling of fuzz tells the story of a 23-year-old black woman coming face-to-face with the celebrations, tribulations, and hardening realities of life. It is the rare sort of music that actively defies trends, captivating you with the sauntering morality of "Grim Reaper" and letting you escape into the dreamlike daze of "Smooth."
Even when the tempo seeks to pick up the pace in "Trying," Orion Sun's airy vocals call for the contrary, "This ain't what I want right now / Slow up / Slow down / Gravity keeping me on the ground." Hold Space For Me is brimming with similar moments that highlight the Philadelphia artist's desire to remain multi-dimensional while carving out her own neo-soul niche. Take a single listen to "El Camino" and its laidback, A$AP Rocky and Kanye West-referencing flow if you need any convincing.
However, the true balancing act of Orion Sun's debut album does not arrive in how far she can bend her gift for neo-soul, jazz, and R&B but in how she manages to soundtrack her coming-of-age to such a heavenly degree. In Hold Space For Me, Orion Sun puts her story down track by track, and in doing so, creates a timeless debut that is undeniably hers.
Listen to Hold Space For Me below: