Rising R&B singer/songwriter UMI is a force to be reckoned with. Her latest single, “Lullaby” featuring Yeek, is the much-anticipated follow-up to “Remember Me,” which already has amassed almost 1,250,000 streams since October. Not bad for a self-made artist.
While “Remember Me” is a reflection on the end of an important relationship, “Lullaby,” in contrast, is focused on the beginning of another, more complicated one. The song is defined by its waltzy, lo-fi beat and wavy synth pads, inviting listeners into UMI’s constructed, dreamy landscape. Her voice complements the instrumental with grace. By the chorus, she sings, “Let me sing you a lullaby,” in an entrancing, whispery voice, proving that sometimes the most powerful vocal can be the quietest.
The second verse features Yeek presenting one of his most vocally dynamic performances thus far. His smooth voice lays suspended over the beat and presents a sort of call-and-response to UMI’s preceding verse. The SoCal based artist is known best for his blend of R&B and hip hop with west coaster surf rock and his collaboration with fellow Ones to Watch artist, Duckwrth.
As in most of UMI’s work, the song’s strength is reliant on its lyrics. In “Lullaby,” UMI begs for some way to help her partner – while she wants to be a calming presence, she feels he will not admit what has been bothering him. The song speaks to the helplessness of not knowing how to help someone, and a meditation on a relationship that lacks crucial communication.
Painfully, the song ends without resolve. Instead, UMI simply repeats, “When will you try to be okay?” This lack of resolution, however, is a major strength for the song, allowing a space for listeners to apply their own experiences and to connect with its universal themes.
Listen to “Lullaby” below: