Voice Notes, the long-awaited debut album by Yazmin Lacey, begins with a contemplative speech delivered by the singer from Manor Park, East London. She reflects on a tweet by Californian beatmaker Flying Lotus about creativity, set against a background of smooth soul jazz. These two genres, soul and jazz, are the backbone of Lacey’s art, and she skillfully blends them with nu-soul from the 90s, reggae-infused beats, and hip-hop flavours.
Lacey’s graceful and sensual approach to this fusion of genres sets her apart from other artists who have also dabbled in soul and jazz, such as Soul II Soul, Neneh Cherry, Sade, Jill Scott, and Erykah Badu. She credits her influences, including the sophisticated English jazz of Ezra Collective, and support from Future Bubblers, Gilles Peterson’s program for nurturing young talent, for refining her magnificent brand of groove.
Blue Note Re:imagined with Yazmin Lacey ft. Ezra Collective - I'll Never Stop Loving YouBBC Radio 6 Music
After releasing three EPs (2017′s Black Moon, When the Sun Dips in 2018 and Morning Matters in 2020) and contributing to Blue Note’s Re:Imagined with her rendition of Dodo Greene’s ‘I’ll Never Stop Loving You’, alongside other virtuosos from the new London jazz scene (bassist Marla Mbemba, keyboardist Sarah Tandy, trumpeter Ife Ogunjobi and drummer Jordan Hadfield), all that was left was the long-awaited debut album. In some informal jam sessions with friends Craigie Dodds, JD. Reid, Melo-Zed, and producer Dave Okumu from The Invisible, Voice Notes slowly started to come together. On the album, Okumu’s production is ultra-refined, never veering towards commercialism, as demonstrated in the album’s enchanting closer, ‘Sea Glass,’ a mellow ballad carried along by an otherworldly harp.
Lacey’s album is a masterful blend of genres, instrumentals, and vocals that complement each other perfectly. Her journey from EPs to Voice Notes shows the evolution and refinement of her style. This album is a testament to the talent and hard work of Lacey and her collaborators, and a fitting addition to the Qobuzissime collection.