St. Thomas — R&B music is timeless and Caribbean culture is endless, mix the two together and you’ve got a sub-genre of R&B. Here are a few singers and songwriters evolving R&B in the Virgin Islands — as usual, in no specific order:
1. SVMO, St. Croix
SVMO is an R&B and Hip-Hop artist from St. Croix. SVMO’s music is eclectic and his Instagram profile almost stitches together the full picture.
He’s released several EPs and albums over the years and even uses his Instagram page to promote the release of visual music videos. Somehow, I think SVMO and Lana Del Rey attend the same exclusive parties in LA, and I’m here for it.
You can access the bulk SVMO’s repertoire on Soundcloud for free, as well as a few other releases on streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify.
2. Prince Govia, St. Thomas
He’s a graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School that finished one year earlier than his peers, Prince — which is his birth name — has made a name for himself in the Virgin Islands. The 19 year old was even shout out by R. City in one of their infamous diss tracks that fucked up the rap game in the Virgin Islands last year.
Excusez mon français
Prince’s melodies are sticky and his range only brings out the magic in each track he creates in his home studio. Prince is young, gifted and on track to be one of the big names in music as he explores his musical abilities.
Weather you liked R. City’s responses to adversaries, they managed to lock in their position and raised the bar in one smooth swipe. Local rappers should be tightening their freestyle skills for an unpredictable year in music — many of Prince’s musical creations don’t make it on paper before he hits the studio.
3. Francilia Benjamin, St. Croix
Let’s talk about Francilia and her cover or Erykah Badu’s hit song On and On. The song was originally released in 1997 on Badu’s debut album Baduizm.
The song went on to win Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 1998 Grammy Awards and is . I’ll shut up and let you listen to Francilia’s rendition now:
4. A.Z.I, St. John
St. Johnian native, Zaid Sewer — whose stage name is A.Z.I. — began teasing an EP/Album for 2019 and I think he might actually deliver. A.Z.I. released a single titled Good Enough that was received well by fans.
Behind the music, A.Z.I is humorous, loves food and can pull off a pretty convincing British accent as shown in some of his promo clips.
5. Tia Mason
And then there’s Tia Mason, who had a lengthy live interview with the Virgin Islands Consortium on Thursday. Tia, and host, Ernice Gilbert talked about her origins, where she plans to go and played a few of her best tracks to the newspaper’s over 100,000 followers on social media. You can check out Tia’s interview here.
Tia also has also made her music videos available on YouTube and raked in over 50,000 video views on the largest video streaming platform in the world. The singer songwriter has proven that she is not a rookie in the industry.
2018 was a monumental year for music — and musicians — in the Virgin Islands and this year doesn’t look like it has plans to slow up the blessings.