UMI’s “Love Affair” Is a Masterful Blend of Identity Struggles, Love, and Anime


This morning, the 20-year-old R&B songstress known as UMI, blessed the world with a new track and video for her song, "Love Affair." The track is the leading single off of her upcoming visual album, Love Language, and it most definitely should get everyone excited for what is to come.

Following the success of a collection of singles, UMI, the young Japanese-African-American artist finds herself in the indie spotlight once again. With her new track, UMI displays her ability to tackle difficult topics and create insightful storylines through her visuals in the same breath. 

"Love Affair" is yet another smooth bedroom R&B track from the artist behind "Midnight Blues" and "Remember Me." UMI continues to deliver with this release but the calming and ambient synths on "Love Affair" make it a standout from the rest. Each component of the track adds a wondrous amount of groove. The sharp snare drum hits strongly throughout, complemented by a very subtle but moving baseline that keeps the track bouncy and fun.

As if the song itself wasn't enough, the visuals enhance the entire experience. The video does a masterful job of creating a narrative to match the elements of the track. The viewer is able to watch UMI develop an immediate love connection, and to the theme of the song, she struggles to understand what it really is. The plot thickens as she is held at gunpoint, only to heroically fight off the robber with the help of the man of her dreams. 

Despite daydreaming and aimlessly thinking of the brief encounter, she reminds herself, "maybe it's just a crush" and "maybe this is just lust," all while watching her potential partner fight off the robber. The song and video are displayed as a cheeky and fun way of displaying love at first sight. The viewer can see the stages of daydreams, confusion, and fascination, all of which originate from that special first encounter.

The visuals also incorporate a heavy amount of animation, as the character of UMI transitions to an anime character throughout the video. Beyond the cheeky romance, the video features a much more personal underlying message, with the various transitions between animation and UMI's own fantastical view of first love capturing a crucial theme of her upcoming album. 

UMI makes it clear that she has long struggled with her mixed ethnic background. Being a Japanese-African-American girl can be troubling, as she often struggles to feel like she can identify as either. This is represented in the video as UMI literally sees herself as a transforming character, unsure of what world, animated or otherwise, she really fits in. However, at the end of the day, UMI owns who she is, letting everyone know that "[she] is a manifestation of her mixed identity." Being able to own personal struggles through art, is the ultimate feat for a young artist and UMI has displayed she has no issues doing the job. 

With her consistently soft yet powerful vocals, soothing production, and insightful visuals, UMI has delivered yet again. "Love Affair" is everything we didn't know we needed. It is as insightful as it is easy-going, but most of all, it is characteristic of who UMI has become as an artist. 

Watch the video for "Love Affair" below: 

For more from UMI, revisit her spellbinding performance of "Remember Me" below.