The crossroads of R&B and jazz is a precarious one, but it’s exactly where Léla Sophia finds comfort. The recent New School music graduate has already found a way to channel the melodic focus of Diana Krall with a soft approachability that fans of Lianne La Havas, Emily King and Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano will immediately recognize. Now, the budding songwriter and greatly gifted singer has released one of her finest efforts yet, a glowing neo-jazz ballad dubbed “Ordinary High.”
Okayplayer is very pleased to present the world premiere of the song, which Léla Sophia said is a tune for anyone who’s feeling stagnant in their daily life. “I always find myself wanting to be better and accomplish more quicker,” she said in an email. “But I’m learning to appreciate life as it comes, and love the all the moments in-between, that’s where real growth happens.”
Sophia’s most recent release before “Ordinary High” was “NeoB,” a Minnie Riperton-channeling ballad built of soft curling melodies and “wall of sound” strings and seem to saturate everything in earshot.
The song is an immersive piece, rolling and glimmering like ocean waves breaking upon themselves. Sophia enters the track gently, making herself at home between the crepuscular synthesizers, cymbals and snares. Produced by emerging jazz artist OlMac Dah, the song is an exercise in confidence. “Ordinary High” is the sound of a rising jazz vocalist inviting us along as she explores new depths of her talent; that’s a very generous offering indeed. Stream “Ordinary High” below and listen to more of Léla Sophia here.