KB Artist Of The Moment: Summer Walker

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Few things are heavier than heartache. Navigating that particular storm of loss remains one of the most formative human experiences, which is why there are so many albums about heartbreak. The topic would be trite if it were not for how deeply we identify with the battered and broken artists, and how potent the emotion remains even years removed from our breakups. Even so, the propensity to stand out as an artist dealing in heartbreak, especially in the arena of R&B, is quite low. Being that heartbreak and love are such universal experiences, it can feel as if anyone with a halfway decent microphone can make a halfway decent career of singing or crooning their woes.

There’s nothing typical or contrived about Summer Walker though. In a space and time commanded by girls like SZA and H.E.R, Summer has managed to piece together simple and resounding lyrics with smooth melodic instrumentals that captivates and motivates a mending heart. Much like her early predecessors do. Where her last album “Last Day of Summer” skimmed across a vast pool of emotion, CLEAR (her 2019 EP) has Walker trudging through the muck of feeling to get to the alkaline truth of heartbreak and pining. And she does this in an effortless and classic quality that must be applauded.

Perhaps most exciting is the earned wisdom that Summer Walker packs into her ballads. Where young contemporaries in the R&B genre also take careful stock of their pain, Walker does the important work of deriving agency from her’s. She goes on to situate the pain as a lesson, always. Which summarizes why she is KB’s Artist Of The Moment.