Moonchild: A Small Neo-Soul Revival

If a cool blend of jazz, wavy beats and soul music piques your interest, then you’ll love Moonchild, an up-and-coming band from southern California. They consist of three former jazz composition students from the University of Southern California (USC). The group’s unique blend of sound revives the neo-soul genre that has slowly withered away since its peak in the early 2000s. In fact, lead singer Amber Navran’s voice somewhat resembles the “Queen of Neo-Soul,” Erykah Badu’s. The fact that each member of the trio is skillful and highly trained in jazz gives them a significant advantage of creating interesting and creative sounds. The group’s smooth sound and excellent vocals make for a wonderful listening experience. Moonchild has been active since 2012 and has released two albums. The group debuted in 2012 with “Be Free,” and the group’s second album, “Please Rewind,” was released in 2014.

The album “Be Free” has a stronger hip-hop influence, even occasionally including rap lyrics from local California rapper Harry Mack. Most of the content is relationship and love-oriented. The song “Throwback” is about the irresistible nature of their partner’s love. The song “Out Of My Mind” is a jazzy tune about acknowledging that the person she loves doesn’t reciprocate the same feelings, so she keeps her eye out for others, while still wanting to be with her crush. Finally, “Be Free” is a smooth, piano oriented song about not getting caught up in the stresses of everyday life, and to appreciate all the great things in it. This album is filled with great songs, but it proves to be the group’s lesser album, as the group refined its sound in its next album.

The album “Please Rewind” went in a more soulful direction than the group’s first album, consisting of less hip-hop vibes. It also has similar content as the first album, with love songs and relationship songs reigning dominant. The song “The Truth” is a wavy, trumpet-heavy tune about how the narrator feels at peace with themselves and doesn’t feel the need to get caught up in the craziness of life. The song “Nobody” is a quiet, calm song about how a character feels at their best when they’re with their significant other. “Don’t Wake Me” is a funkier, more upbeat tune that compares a relationship to a dreamlike phenomenon, and they don’t ever want to wake up from it. This album was an improvement from the group’s already strong debut.

Though Moonchild is a relatively obscure trio, its talent is off the charts. With its exceptional jazz skills, ability to make chilled out beats and a lead singer with an exceptional voice, the group is able to recapture the spirit of a dead neo-soul genre. The group is set to release its brand new album titled “Voyager” in late May. Moonchild has released one song as a teaser called “Cure.” If the rest of the album resembles this song, it will be Moonchild’s best album yet. The group refined its neo-soul sound, and have continued its devotion to smooth vibes.


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