There are only a handful of current musicians who can honestly turn the tropes of their chosen genre to their own advantage—most artists simply get by on the goodwill created by the extensive histories that their given sound has created over the years. For Saváge, the connections between the particular sounds that move her heart (namely soul, hip-hop and R&B) are complicated and span a giant musical chasm filled with endless opportunity and influences that are open to constant interpretation and exploration.
She doesn’t just expand on what’s already there—she finds entirely new ways to approach these sounds. Soil-soaked grooves are stretched and reshaped as she works through some hip-hop-inspired production choices. Each piece of this rhythmic whole is fascinating and quickly catches your attention, but when it’s all put together and the song manifests itself completely, the resulting noise is almost overwhelming, drenched in raw emotion and unfiltered experience.
On her latest single, “Ghetto Fabulous,” she fashions a series of gorgeous melodies atop liquid R&B rhythms. The bass slinks and pops while the beat creates the nebulous borders of the track. Her voice is calm but fierce in its conviction, possessing a steady and convincing perspective that evolves over the course of the song. It sends echoes of different sounds sliding down your spine, creating a repeating loop of movement and involuntary emotional responses which leave you feeling liberated from the expectations of these genres.
The song is also a lyrical dig at the fact that African-Americans (and minorities in general) are held to different standards in all walks of life, and Saváge points out that sometimes you have to do for yourself when the world is intent on holding you back. Whether it’s in business, fashion, art or beliefs, there are times when everything seems to be going against you, but in those turbulent moments, you just need to plant your feet, raise your voice and demand to be heard. “Ghetto Fabulous” is both a foundation of support and a call-to-arms, a multifaceted musical force that requires your active participation.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.