You’re in a low-lit basement bar, reclining against a bare brick wall in a corner. Figures shrouded in darkness and red and blue hues are locked together, entwined in the tune, hips moving, shoulders back. They’re clutching martini’s, served in low ball glasses, lost in soulful, sensual R&B. This is the atmosphere of ONUR’s second single ‘Stunnah’ and it is delicious.
First and foremost, the 22-year-old Londoner needs to be applauded for making R&B that is not only in the contemporary Brit genre but also doesn’t try too hard to be – not an easy feat in that landscape at the moment. After the applauded debut single ‘Beamin,’ released in September, ‘Stunnah’ is a continuation of the high-quality musicianship brought by this young artist.
Where ‘Beamin’ was upbeat and instrumentally dynamic, ‘Stunnah’ slows it right down, not dancing too much along the score, but still making you want to slow dance with a stranger. It opens with grungy electronic guitar, upon which the whole track is built around. The effect of this is a surprisingly simple R&B track, impressive because it is still captivating. But then, a few moments in comes the really gripping bit: the entrancingly unique falsetto of ONUR. With a distinct Prince air and an Adele-like vocal range, ONUR’s voice is outstanding. Without this addition, ‘Stunnah’ would just be a piece of contemporary R&B; but add in these bizarre – and amazing – vocals, and you have a masterpiece.
Drawn out lyrics and reverberating notes that seem to go on forever, are complimented by the bold, guitar-driven melody. The intimacy of the track is enhanced by tenuous harmonies, lengthening the siren-like quality of ONUR’s voice at the chorus.
ONUR’s signature Lo-Fi production is epitomised at the guitar solo – where the dirty electronic riffs are almost muted like you’re hearing them through a concrete wall in a Bronx apartment block. Although some may think this sultry, sexy side of R&B is too nuanced to be successful, others will find the aggressive fragility of ONUR’s music a statement single to be reckoned with.