Keep in touch with VOXX

Email: or Tel T: 01472 240440

Music Ray BLK

Published on January 11th, 2019 | by voxx


Ray BLK – Empress

Pleasing but predictable R&B from the acclaimed South Londoner…

Almost two years after she was crowned the BBC’s Sound Of 2017 winner for her lively and fiercely modern dispatches from day-today life, Ray BLK is back with her debut album. But it’s not merely her leisurely release schedule that suggests the 25-year-old – born Rita Ekwere – isn’t overly fussed about capitalising on the hype. Empress is a collection of solid but safe soul and R&B, supplemented by gospel flavours, rap segments and a smattering of vaguely trendy production ticks.

At a time when the bleeding-edge of pop is awash with R&B-based innovation, the unadventurous sound of Empress does feel a tad disappointing. But on its own terms, there’s plenty going for it – not least Ekwere’s effortless vocal and unhurried rap style. There’s also much joy to be found in the title track – an amusing and relatable riff on all the crap blokes she’s dated – as well as the blissful retro vibes of ‘Girl Like Me’ and ‘Just A Kid’.

Taking its cues from ’00s girl groups, ‘Got My Own’ is a straightforwardly brilliant pop song, but its lyrics, which see Ekwere assert her financial independence, do recall Destiny’s Child’s seminal take on the subject. This niggling familiarity is a recurring issue here: ‘Run Run’ sounds uncomfortably similar to Jorja Smith’s ‘Blue Lights’, whereas mum-ode ‘Mama’ cleaves tightly to lyrical stereotypes. Ekwere is clearly a talented vocalist, but the sense of déjà vu here means she’s yet to become the voice of a generation.

- By Jake White

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑

  • Welcome to VOXX Online

    voxx_coversVOXX is Lincolnshire’s number one volunteer-led magazine, running both quarterly print editions and ongoing digital content, giving young people the opportunity to develop real journalism skills.
    READ MORE about how you can get involved.

  • This Month’s Theme

    The idea of talking about Christmas in September divides the nation, but we’re going to do it anyway, because the next issue is planned for release just in time for the holidays!

    In the past we’ve focused on the commercial side, and on entertainment, but this year we’re thinking a little differently.

    While we are still accepting content on any topic and still love to read all your reviews, we would like to put an emphasis on feelgood stories, things that can open our eyes or make us feel something, whether that’s advice on conquering a fear or goal, stories from real people in the community, celebrations and events, stories of experiences or foreign, far off places, or perhaps something as simple as a warming family recipe.

    Good luck, and happy writing! Content deadline November 1st.

  • Advertise with VOXX

    Want your business to be exposed to the whole region and beyond? Advertising with VOXX might just help you.

    We publish a new issue of this ever-growing youth magazine quarterly in print, with ongoing content on this website throughout the year.

    We offer a range of sizes to suit every price range and we’ll even design the artwork for you at no extra cost!

    Contact our sales team on (01472) 240440 for more information about this excellent value opportunity.

  • Latest


  • Connect with us!

    Facebook: VOXX
    Twitter: @voxxmagazine
    Instagram: voxxmagazine
    Pinterest: VOXX