Singers Who Keep Us Sane
When you’re going through something, there’s nothing like turning on that song—you know the one—that perfectly sums up how you’re feeling; and nothing makes you feel better than belting it out at the top of your lungs and not caring who’s around.
There are some ladies who just have a gift for putting the exact emotions you’re dealing with in a song and if it weren’t for their ability to connect with us through their music, we might really be busting some windows *hint*hint. Whether it’s a breakup, loneliness, depression, abuse, or family issues, these singers know how to get us through. Check out the top R&B ladies we owe our sanity to.
Women everywhere are still struggling to accept that there will never be another “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” I don’t think there’s another album that has resonated with so many women (and men) across generations and musical genres. More than the circumstances Lauryn spoke to and the emotion she poured into the tracks, there was wisdom. Despite being her first solo album, it was almost as though she’d grown up in the process of making the music and the songs she sung were a result of the healing process. She talked about motherhood with songs like “Zion,” relationships on tracks like “Ex Factor,” “Can’t Take My Eyes off You, and “Nothing Even Matters,” and she even explored spirituality and God. No matter what you were dealing with in ’98 and what you’re facing now, this album still hits the spot.
Mary J. Blige
There’s a reason Mary J. Blige is known as the Queen of Hip Hop Soul; she’s been telling the 411 on most of our lives since the day she first stepped onto the scene in 1992. From “Real Love” to “Be Happy” and “I’m Going Down,” Mary was everything other R&B artists at the time weren’t—raw, honest, and open about the heartache and pain she was going through. “Not Gone Cry” against the backdrop of “Waiting to Exhale” put Mary on an entirely different pedestal and she became the symbol of the scorned, liberated woman, and fans could relate to her so much that she was almost like a girlfriend or older sister.
Even when Mary stepped out in 2001 and declared “No More Drama,” women rejoiced in her newfound happiness because we felt like we went through the struggle and grew up with her. Now, with the release of her 10th studio album, Mary is still loyal to the sound and the pain that paved the way for her success, with young girls waving their hands to “Mr. Wrong” the way women in the 90s appreciated “Love is All We Need.”
When Keyshia told us “The Way it Is” in 2005, she was for Generation Y what Mary J. Blige was to the 90s. She may not have had the same level of success, but she brought along just as much pain and emotion. You could tell Keyshia meant it when she said she just wanted it to be over and I don’t know a single girl who hasn’t nearly gone hoarse singing every single word to “Love.” When “Let it Go” came on women would go crazy singing as if they were telling the next chic to recognize where her man really wanted to be, but deep down most knew they were singing to themselves. And everyone could identify with wanting to be the one who a man believed was “Heaven Sent.”
Keyshia’s gone through a similar transition as Mary, getting married to pro athlete Daniel Gibson and even becoming a mommy within the past two years, so we can expect that same joy to come across in her new album “Woman to Woman.” Like Mary, she’ll be able to let go of the angst that once fueled her music and celebrate a new chapter in her life that her fans have hopefully experienced also.
We felt the emotion on Jazmine Sullivan’s first single “Need U Bad” but when she dropped her second song “Bust Your Windows” we knew she was our type of girl. Her soulful, deep voice resonated with us on “Lions, Tigers, and Bears” as she described the hesitation every woman feels about falling in love again and “In Love with Another Man” is self-explanatory. Jazmine is the type of artist you want to blow up because she’s just that great, but you also want to keep her to yourself because she’s telling your life story every time she steps on stage. She gave us a scare last year when she said she was quitting music indefinitely to figure out who she is, but at the end of last year she began working on her third studio album. Knowing that the young star has been going through a transition personally and musically tells us that the music she produces will be that much sweeter when she puts it out for us to connect to.
What singers do you always turn to when you need a release?