Album Review: Kiana Ledé – KIKI

Kiana Ledé is becoming a household name in the world of RnB and while the young American singer-songwriter has quickly built an audience from the release of her 2018 Selfless EP in just two years, she has matured and grown and has crafted a beautiful debut titled KIKI (which happened to be released on her birthday, too).

To put it simply, this album is heartbreaking, gripping and sensual all at once and the themes that she touches on the record showcase the breakdown of events that seem to happen with a person she shared an intimate relationship with. Some songs feel angry, others spell out hurt and the rest channel the kind of energy a woman feels when claiming their independence again. If you listen to artists like Janine or Ella Mai, there’s a strong chance you’ll dig Ledé’s KIKI.

Compared to Selfless, Ledé has transformed as an artist in exploring more raw elements to her music. While her EP was a great introduction in charming listeners with her smooth, sultry beats, KIKI is respective of Ledé’s RnB roots but also has her channel a new energy apparent in both her songwriting and instrumentation.

Take for example, “Movin'” is a catchy as hell track and the pop and RnB sensibilities work so well with Lede’s vocals. Her delivery is flawless and intriguing and there’s something about this track that screams that she’s “got this”. Somewhere along the lines of beating to her own drum and being carefree when it comes to taking the next actionable steps in her life.

Yet, when you listen to a song like “Attention.” – this adds the ‘wow’ factor in the album because Ledé is in a state of vulnerability and its empowering to hear her reach those high notes with the element of the piano. It’s raw, simple yet so emotive, bringing a magical elegance in this song. It’s heartbreaking and spells trouble in a relationship that no longer feels like home.

Of course, you can also appreciate the collaborations she has with 6lack, Lucky Daye, Ari Lennox and more, adding diversity and flow in KIKI and avoids being too complacent with what listeners already know of Ledé, adding a nice touch to the overall vibe of the record.

So, what else is there to say about KIKI? Honestly, it’s a well-crafted album and Ledé highlights her strengths as an artist in this by being honest about how she feels while also “going with the flow” on what sounds great, too. She’s genuine and doesn’t stray far from her roots, making her not afraid to take musical risks that explore the realness of her battles with love.

Rating: ★★★★

KIKI is out now through Republic Records 

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