Hidden Talents in the Modern R&B Era


Artist Brent Faiyaz

Reagan Reed, Staff Writer

In today’s age, it is extremely hard to make a name for yourself in the music industry, just like it’s hard to get famous in Hollywood as an actress or a writer, or any of the arts really. There’s so much competition and so many people with the same talent and dream, it seems like you can only get your foot in the door if you have personal connections. However, sometimes, even without connections, your talent can be so apparent that you have what it takes to make people want to listen to you and hear more of your uniqueness. There are many talents like these in the modern R&B genre, and they deserve more appreciation than they have. They are on their way to the big time, but are still trying to gain more support. 

The first of these is pure R&B, through and through, and his name is Brent Faiyez. With barely over 6 million Spotify listeners monthly, he is greatly underappreciated in his genre. Big names like Khalid and Drake who make R&B have an enormous following and number of listeners on Spotify, and he deserves the same. 

His first hit “Poison,” released in 2016, was fairly popular, but it still wasn’t connected to him as an artist; it was just seen as a good song. Shortly following that, he released an album in 2017 titled “Sonder Son,” which was still not his break to fame and was mainly only appreciated by his fans, not his nonlisteners. However, in 2018, he released the EP “Lost,” and that started to garner him a little more attention. Thanks to the app TikTok, which has become a big gateway for undiscovered artists to make their music more accessible to fans who don’t really know them, his song “Trust” finally garnered some attention becoming very popular on the app for a period of time. 

Now, with his name a little more out there, Faiyez released his 2020 album “F*** The World” in February, which (as crude as that sounds) actually includes lots of R&B ballads about his romantic life, and how it’s affected by fame, as many of his songs do. Faiyez does a wonderful job of combining “thug life” with the emotional aspects of his life, and you can see the intentions behind his words and the soft music he uses. That album has done well for him, with the most popular hits being songs “Clouded,” “Been Away,” and “Rehab (Winter in Paris).” Hopefully, as he continues to release more of his thoughtful and well-written songs that he does, he will maybe get the recognition he deserves as an artist. 

The next artist that light should be shined upon, and one who is angelically talented in his voice, is the R&B artist Giveon.  He has probably the most recognition out of these artists, as he was nominated for the 2021 grammy awards for best R&B album for his album Take Time from this year. This is an obvious reflection of his talent and musical genius. Giveon often talks about not wanting to be like other artists, he wants to stand out as his own sound, which he does wonderfully. In his biography on Spotify he quotes, “I want them (his listeners) to take away originality and I want them to say ‘ok, this is something different, this is not like what we know’.”

It is also said in his biography that he has always had a passion for writing and poetry, and was more concerned with that than actually singing. Giveon was blessed with a beautiful and unique baritone voice, and he didn’t much enjoy singing because it didn’t sound like everyone else. It wasn’t until he discovered artists like Frank Sinatra that he realized a voice like his would be a powerful asset to his talent. 

Along with his Grammy nomination, he has also acquired nearly 7 and half million monthly listeners on Spotify, and on Drake’s earlier album this year was featured on one of the most popular songs, “Chicago Freestyle.” Being on one of the top recognized R&B artists in the world’s song, and gaining such attention definitely gave a big boost to his career. With that, his nomination, his constantly on the rise fanbase, and his extraordinary talent Giveon has the potential to create a big name for himself in this genre. 

The final artist that has been unrecognized for their talent is perhaps the most impressive one. With a record of collaborating on Grammy nominated music since they were in high school, and being involved in the widest variety of genres and artists that can be possible for someone so unknown, Steve Lacy is truly incredible. 

With his career beginning in 2014, Lacy was thrown into the music world by helping develop the famous R&B group The Internet’s 2015 album Ego Death; he helped co-produce half the songs while in high school. Now not only is that unheard of, but the method he used to produce them is incredible. Using mobile device app GarageBand, a very simple app many teenagers used to use to mess around with creating music, he orchestrated half of a Grammy nominated album. It’s truly incredible. 

The list of artists Lacy has helped produce and write for is too long to even describe in this article, and is full of the biggest most talented artists in the industry. To name a few: J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Tyler, The Creator, Vampire Weekend, GoldLink, Mac Miller, Kali Uchis, Blood Orange, Solange, Jhene Aiko, Denzel Curry, Big Sean, and Isaiah Rashad. There’s even a whole category you can listen to called “Prod. by Steve Lacy” on Spotify, and it includes all of these artists most successful and experimental songs. He truly is a genius behind the scenes. 

Since producers like him are often not given credit as deserved, Steve Lacy has only 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify. That’s shell shocking to hear when you look at his career and all he has done to make history worthy music with award winning artists. Lacy’s music on his own is incredible in itself, and doesn’t get a fraction of the recognition that other artists have. Lacy is the definition of unrecognized potential and talent. 

While awards and streams obviously aren’t synonymous with talent in this day and age, when artists like these three are brimming with so much talent, you have to think they deserve more to their name. History and the masses may never recognize their genius or creativity, but those who know their music will never doubt it.