Introducing… SLK

Our Introducing... series focuses on artists who we think are worth shouting about. Here we have neo-soul/noir&B starlet-in-the-making, SLK.

Posted on Dec 16th, 2013 in Features and Interviews, SLK / By Larry Day
Introducing… SLK Here at Bearded we aim to shed light on acts who don't necessarily have giant labels or muscley budgets waving banners behind them. This Introducing series will focus on artists who we think are great, regardless of how much hype surrounds them or where their origin story lays.

Name: SLK
Location: London, UK
Genre: Noir&B
Similar Artists: Banks, FKA Twigs, Kelela
Contact: Facebook, Twitter
Events: Debut single 'Ride' released December 30

2013 (and indeed 2012) has been awash with a cavalcade of sultry, brooding chanteuses draped in lover's scorn and a dark-pop veneer. Drake/Frank Ocean/The Weeknd-aping PBR&B crooners, sodden in slick production and crisp-as-a-new-fiver beats are cropping up like a glorious plague. We have been privy to R&B (in all its guises) dawning into a fresh golden era. It shows no signs of abating, with many likeminded artists nommed for BBC Sound Of 2014 and copious notables of the style tipped for major things next year. It's a beautiful deluge.

One such artist hoping to break 2014 is SLK (pronounced 'silk'), a london-based singer-songwriter with a penchant for severed samples, the warm coo of echoing disco keys and a touch of good ol' LDN dance like grime, half-time percussion á la dubstep and the faint hark-back to '90s trance. It's not just sleek, slithering, slinking (and lots of other 'sl-' adjectives) soul sans soul, there's a unique streak flowing through her noises that set her apart from the supercharged pack.

Her debut single and track, entitled 'Ride', embodies this sound perfectly. Well, it's the only thing we have from her so far so we'll have to assume this is what SLK's output will be like (and she doesn't deviate into psychobilly or something). But anyway, back to 'Ride'...

The bass and drum combo breathes a malevolent breath like Blue Daisy or other Blakestep enthusiasts. It's throbby and clicky. There are icy shards of stabbing synth, glistening amongst sun-frenched pads in the background; though all these elements commingle in the loveliest way, its her voice that shines strongest. Part dreampop croon, part soul diva and part nostalgic dance chorus gold, she ably careens through every peak and valley of the track, flipping from Armstrong baritone to J-Pop soprano at the flick of a beat, all the while weighted by the burden of 10-tonne emotion.

Offerings from SLK are scant, to be sure. However, as 2013 runs its course and her single comes ever closer to dropping proper, there's bound to be more wondrous sonic gems on display for our proposal. While R&B-revivalists are a dime a dozen, she manages with apparent ease to ensure that she's leading not following the crowd. Utilising distinctly British electro and dance staples, there's a different tone available, and while still baby-butt smooth, there's a definite grit that Pondside combatants can't fathom.

Absolutely one to watch for 2014.