Steven Bamidele – A Sense of Belonging

Steven Bamidele makes neo-soul new again on his first-ever EP.

Photo: Jess Stretton

After releasing a series of singles over the last three years (include one featured here on WtMM in 2018), singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Steven Bamidele released a new wonderful set of songs last week on an EP titled A Sense of Belonging.

With so many of Bamidele’s songs, there is a distinct sense of searching — in the lyrics and in the musical arrangements themselves. Chalk it up to Bamidele’s multiracial, multi-cultural background (Nigerian and British), relationships with his family, his acknowledged struggles with anxiety and depression, the natural ebbing and flowing of one’s twenties, or the swirling together of all of these things. The result is an artist whose music tugs at that part of you that questions your place in the world.

On A Sense of Belonging, however, Bamidele sounds more assured. He sings “I see behind the curtain now / Little by little by little / Everything is clearer than it’s been before.” (from Little by Little by Little). His signature falsetto — still channeling classic neo-soul vibes (like Remy Shand…anyone remember him?) with wisps of Curtis Mayfield and Prince — has some added heft, soaring and breaking with more conviction than outright vulnerability. The arrangements are tighter, not as spacious and airy. Always soulful, his beats feel stronger and heavier here with a more R&B-forward swing and groove.

This is a great collection of tracks from Bamidele, worthy of congratulations and enjoyment now, but also hopefully a signal of more music to come.

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