BIM Speaks on the Black Voices Who Changed Music For Her

BIM has one of those rare musical possessions, an ageless, classic voice that could land in any era of pop music. That talent has already had her contribute to celebrated artists such as Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, and Jessie Ware, but thankfully she's now letting her voice unleash as a solo effort.  

Her latest single "O.T.R." only further proves the range of her songwriting prowess, reminding us that this is a true vocal talent who also knows the musical lineage she's contributing to. So, who better to guide us through Black Music Month than BIM? Well we thought the same, see below for her curated list, and do yourself a favor and check her out as well. She has all the chops to lineup with any of the celebrated artists below.

George Benson - "Love X Love"  

I really appreciate those who can 'sing' with their instrument and that is exactly what George Benson does with his guitar. He's a virtuoso player but his jazz infused vocals are gorgeous too. I'm also slightly obsessed with having well crafted and cleverly placed backing vocals and this song is almost completely built around them. It's disco paradise for me!

The Clark Sisters - "You Bring The Sunshine"

Gospel music is the bedrock for so many genres of Black music and The Sisters are truly one of the standard bearers for me. Their group dynamic, range, intricacy of harmony, and warmth of tone is legendary. Besides all of that, Karen Clarke-Sheard is the template for so much of the "vocal acrobatics" R&B singers are famous for that it would just be foolish to deny it at this point! "You Bring The Sunshine" is one of their classic hits, fusing traditional gospel with Stevie Wonder’s influence and it never fails to give me joy.

Sade - "Cherish The Day"

Although she was not alone in this respect, Sade's rich lower tones coupled with smooth and nuanced delivery broadened the idea of what Black female vocalists could sound like. She incorporated jazz, soul, and pop effortlessly and turned the idea of what a diva was on its head. I've loved her voice on this track in particular ever since I was a kid. Special mention has to go to the Neptunes' remix of "By Your Side." I'm not sure what Pharrell did but you can never play it just once!

Anita Baker - "No one in the world"  

I am a perennial fan of vocalists who really know how to take you on a journey with them and Anita ensures you feel every single word. Her tone is unrivaled and both the richness and resonance in her voice is just so beautiful. Nobody sings about love quite like her.

Aretha Franklin - "Rock Steady"

The Queen hands down. Any genre was hers. This is my favorite Aretha song to sing as she just bodies "rock soul" with such ease and I love that place in my voice. I just don't think you can have full appreciation for the genre without taking the time to listen extensively to Ms. Aretha.

Randy Crawford - "Rainy Night In Georgia"

As you can probably tell from this entire list, I really admire vocalists who refuse to be pigeonholed genre-wise, and I just adore Randy's voice. Her music is undeniably soul, but her phrasing would sit perfectly in country music. The way that slight nasal twang comes through in this track is everything.

Luther Vandross - "Give Me The Reason"

My theory is that because he was a supporting vocalist, he knew how to give polished vocals on demand but Vandross is almost too perfect. His voice sits at the paramount place between a male and female vocals and is so flawless in delivery. It's exceptional and so recognizable.

Jill Scott - "The Way"  

Jill Scott is a poet and a storyteller and the pictures she paints with her words and vocals are so vivid. She is completely on the inside of every song she sings especially live and I love that energy. I feel like you get her the very best of her in those moments. I aspire to give the same.

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