Los Angeles based, Australian Pop/R&B singer Lili Kendall explores love, life, and self-empowerment on her debut album “love, herself.”
First coming across Lili Kendall through the release of her ‘I am my own’ video earlier this year, the bar for this project had been set pretty high.
The singer presented herself as an artist who was willing to colour outside of the lines when it came to her craft.
This is something reinforced not only visually through her styling and the conceptual narratives of her music videos, but also lyrically on previous singles such as “lonely empress” and “third degree love crimes”.
And we weren’t the only ones who felt this way. U.S R&B singer Kehlani gave Lili her nod of approval when she shared her song via Instagram.
Averaging 18000 monthly listens on Spotify and receiving co-signs from the artists she looks up to, placed lofty expectations on Lili’s debut. The singer rose to the occasion seamlessly producing a polished body of work, soulful to its core, that eloquently explored a number of topical issues.
While the themes explored varied from track to track the pace of the project remained consistent allowing each song to seamlessly flow into the next. These transitions were aided by a selection of interludes that originally started out as phone voice memos.
Lili explains further:
I started recording conversations, landscapes, etc over the period of creating the album, I bought them to one of my good friends, Syience, who put his incredible musical genius behind each one. It may have been my favourite part of the process to create them with him, as it finally made the album feel whole and not just a bunch of songs sitting side by side.
While the production in places played things safer than I would have hoped, Lili’s penmanship throughout the project was solid, articulately sculpting stories of heartbreak, love, and maturation.
These were a few of my favourite songs.
All through the night
The album opens with “All Through The Night” a sensual mid-tempo track. It beautifully showcased Lili’s unique vocal stylings. Her rich tone pierced through the masterful emotional intensity to hitting listeners right in the chest. The instrumentation, particularly the use of the harp, gave the song a theatrical feel, driving the story forward. The enamouring melody reeling listeners in with every word.
I would grade this track an A+ based on the sass alone. The R&B singer really took us to church with those organs. The irony of the juxtaposition of gospel-inspired soundscapes with an unrepentant attitude was not lost on me, but I cannot deny how well it worked. This track was loosely reminiscent of Rihanna’s Rated R era, which for me only added to the experience.
This was my favourite track on the album because I feel that sonically it’s the most representative of who Lili is as an artist. This is especially fitting as it’s the song where she talks about finding herself. Everything from delicate flares in her vibrato, to the warm tonal richness of her vocals, worked in perfect unison. Even the song’s unpredictable melodic twists transitioned between tempos without feeling disjointed.
Despite the confusion in love and life the most important lesson Lili has learned is self-love and that’s the message she wants to leave with her fans.
Rooted in fluidity, the album may have flowed without a clear sense of direction but arrived at a beautiful destination nonetheless. There was no neat story or timeline to follow, meaning that those who were listening by the end of the project remained because they connected with its sound first rather than Lili’s story – a bold move for a debut project offering but one that paid off.
Every so often an artist comes along that everyone knows without a shadow of a doubt will go on to do incredible things. For me, Lili Kendall is that artist and that journey begins right here.