A few weeks ago we happened upon a gorgeous new voice wrapped around smooth R&B beats and melodies online. We loved it but before we had time to fully get into the tunes and find out more, they were gone. Yet that glimpse stayed with us and, investigating hat upon our head, we went searching. Eventually, with a little help, we found that those soft sultry vocals belonged to Mikaela Kahn and so, after a long absence, a new Alphabet Band was found.
Based out of Austin, Texas, Kahn last year released her debut EP, Fall With You and is about to share her first album, the seven track delight that is Milk & Honey. In the short time between these two releases her music has evolved and developed. Fall With You had more of a folky, country feel to it whereas Milk & Honey is full on smooth jams and late night beats blended with pop and electronica. It was tracks from this full length that we accidently heard, loved and that had set us off on our investigatory path.
Still in her early twenties, Kahn has had an interesting musical journey thus far, including getting a college education in Jazz, being a backing vocalist for an Elvis impersonator (award winning impersonator we must say) and also for Chrisette Michele. As any good press release will tell you, these experiences have helped shape the person Kahn has become and the music she makes. What they won’t have done per se is give her the drop dead gorgeous voice she has been blessed with and it is that which helps her stand out from her contemporaries.
For example, on “Losing You” (a stripped back version of which you can watch below) the arrangement seems deliberately understated to give centre stage to a rich vocal that feels part Mariah, part Aguilera, part Alicia Keys. Full of heartbreak and emotional torment, its powerful yet vulnerable at the same time. There are Mariah moments on “I Want You” as well and “Where You Are” is a stunningly simple guitar and voice song that suits her perfectly.
Our focus on Kahn’s voice is not to denigrate the production or composition of the songs, far from it, as both are fantastic, it’s just that those baby smooth vocals are so enchanting and beguiling that it’s hard to focus on anything else. But we must, and we shall.
The aforementioned “I Want You” is a brooding, shadowy ripple of electronica and slow burning intensity. “Chemical Attraction” has a gorgeously soulful and laidback groove, perfect for some slow cheek-to-cheek swaying as candles flicker in the background and wine waits patiently to be enjoyed. Alongside opener, “Fire & Lace”, it is a gorgeous blend of pop and R&B that should be platinum selling.
Across its seven songs, Milk & Honey serves up late evening sultriness, cold light of day heartbreak, and middle of the night seductions. All the while delivered by one of the sweetest, smoothest and sultry voices we’ve heard in a long time. We’re in love, but we suspect you’d already worked that out…
’Milk & Honey’ is due for release on 14 April.