Shay Lia Brings Contemporary Feminine Energy to R&B on Her Sophomore Album ‘FACETS’ [Album Review]

Milly Wensley

Shay Lia is bringing a contemporary feminine energy that R&B needs. Her refreshing and experimental style showcases elements from Amapiano and Reggae to Funk and Pop within classic R&B. You may have heard her widely successful single with KAYTRANADA, “CHANCES” but if you haven’t gone below the surface of Shay’s music you’re missing out. Her sophomore album FACETS has just delivered a full tracklist of compelling, engaging, and ethereal new songs. 

The tape starts off with a sensual vibe on “HIGH.” This track was inspired by the way Shay Lia felt whilst on a trip to Miami. The delicate breeze and sun against her skin unlocked a new sense of femininity. The Amapiano-inspired production matches the confident, yet delicate energy of the lyrics. A few tracks in, we hear both “ROMEO & JULIESHA” and "TAKUTA” some of my personal favourites. “ROMEO & JULIESHA” is a beautifully produced track that feels like a summer club night in Europe. It recounts Shay Lia’s experience with a man missing her signals, hence lyrics “You got to make a move." “TAKUTÁ instantly made me think of Kali Uchis meets Beyonce, it’s exhilarating and charismatic with influence from hip-hop to dance. Yet another empowering and feminine energy easily felt by any and all listeners. 

Next, I want to highlight the features that appear on this tape. While Shay Lia has proven herself a solo talent time and time again, her collaborations always bring a wonderful complement to her sound. “ON THE LOW” marks Shay’s 10th collaboration with iconic contemporary producer KAYTRANADA. The track expresses Shay’s vexing experience with an on-again/off-again situationship. The track “E.G.O.” features the likes of Canadian R&B duo Majid Jordan and Compton rapper Buddy. Here we have a classic combo of Hip-Hop & R&B in the truest sense, with melodic vocals and smooth bars.  

I could go on and on delving into the remaining tracks on Shay Lia’s latest album FACETS, however, I leave a few for you to discover yourself. There are 10 amazing pieces of well-curated art on this project and I’ve only introduced you to 5! For all the R&B lovers who want to catch a good vibe, move to the music, and feel something, stream FACETS today. Keep an eye out for everything Shay Lia has coming and catch her on tour in the UK and US over the next few months.

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