In her short, documentary-like visual, which aired a week before her debut EP, Amarafleur can be heard saying, “My voice has found the right locations so we just have to, like, get used to being housemates!”.
Although at the time she spoke these words between a few nervous giggles, the statement perfectly described the point she had reached as an artist just one week before the release of her debut EP, …And Then I Stopped Caring. The video, while less than 60 seconds in length, raised levels of anticipation to crazy heights ahead of the release of her project.
Those who have followed Amarafleur’s journey as an alternative African musician will have been eagerly awaiting this day and the release of her record did not disappoint.
Blending futuristic, nu-wave instrumentals with age-old soul and RnB inspired vocals while tying it all together with songwriting that (to use a very 2021-phrase) gets us in our feels, it doesn’t only feel as if Amarafleur has arrived – but it feels like the world showed up to welcome her too.
In 2021 RnB and Neo-Soul have evolved to the point where creativity and experimentation are encouraged. In music industries across the world, the boundaries which separate genres are slowly fading away. All of these reasons are perhaps why the timing of Amarafleur’s project couldn’t be better. Listeners simply want to feel the music and it matters less than it did two decades ago, which genre rules you observe to make them do that (some artists blend the rules of more than one genre, as Amara does).
Producer Buli fully buys into the singer’s vision as he lends his signature sound treatment to the EP’s opener, Reminder. The track (and the EP) begin with a hazy, dreamy synth that serves as a bed for Amarafleur’s vocals who kicks off the story by musing, “There’s a fire in your eyes, and I can see it”. In the track, she speaks to (and reminds) herself, as much as her listeners, of how far she’s come to this point and Reminder becomes a self-affirming anthem. An ode to those who have felt the pains and discomfort of growth.
On Whole, Amarafleur’s voice meets a haunting instrumental before she sings with the wisdom of a 20-something who knows what it takes to give out your heart – especially because you don’t always get it back in the same condition.
She ends her reflective EP with Show Me How, every part a future-soul ballad where she shows her vocal range and technique in all its glory.
The EP is arranged expertly, and although there are a number of songwriters credited, the likes of Thane Smith and Better Days musician Zwide Ndwandwe, only serve to build the platform for Amara’s voice to take center stage.
At 9 minutes and 11 seconds, …And then I stopped caring feels like an invitation to reflect and a statement of intent. Normally, when someone stops caring it might signify the end of an era.
But by letting go of what no longer matters, Amarafleur has actually opened the door to a new chapter in both her career and her life as an adult. One gets the feeling that this record is only the beginning of what this new chapter will bring to the world.