emotional-oranges-vibe-next-feature-1573603708 emotional-oranges-vibe-next-feature-1573603708
Brando

NEXT: Emotional Oranges Sing Tales Of Modern Love Behind Mysterious Blinds

The mysterious R&B duo's love songs are relatable as f**k, regardless of their anonymous citrus-colored glasses.

As of late, New York’s Brooklyn Steel has acted as a safe space for budding performers of the R&B flavor to bring live music to the fans. On a brisk fall evening, fans of Emotional Oranges follow stickers that act as breadcrumbs to the venue. It’s a perfect treat for them given the anonymous nature of the presumed duo. Singles like the flirtatious “Motion” and “Personal” not only offer reasons to slide to the dance floor but an ode to their ability to marry disco blends, instrumental productions, and 808s, resulting in a very special cocktail of modern R&B.

When members known as "A" and "V" take the stage in front of the sold-out crowd, they’re imaginative in every way. The venue turns into a mood ring of sorts as their silhouettes are met with lavender hues during “Built That Way,” blue for “Your Best Friend Is A Hater” and a somber red for “Corners of My Mind.” They may be a wonder, but the stories heard on the aforementioned tracks reflect the ins and outs of modern love. Ins being the adrenaline of meeting someone new in a two-star bar and the outs being the situationship that follows it. Fantasies of what love should be and reflections of what it could have been flooding the Emotional Oranges' debut project The Juice Vol. 1, giving listeners honest storytelling. It’s something producer/engineer “A” and female vocalist “V” pride themselves on.

“I think a lot of our music stems from real experience, not just other people’s stories, but our lives as well,” V says a few moons later in the VIBE office. Their most daring songs like “Hold You Back,” a back and forth about a woman falling for another girl while in relations with a guy came from a simple conversation between the two. “Hold You Back” as well as songs from their newly released follow-up, The Juice Vol. 2 aren’t built for the radio or a speakeasy, but for listeners who enjoy a bit of spritz in their R&B.

“It goes back to the expectations,” A says. “People get in the studio and it's a writer setup with another writer. The expectation is a song for the club, or a deep song or something for the “quintessential” album, but with us, there's none of that.”

Due to their anonymity, Emotional Oranges don’t worry about playing up their personality or staying in a sound bubble. Their mysterious allure comes with creative freedom. “I think it actually helps us do things faster,” V continues. “Vol. 2 was written in two weeks. A lot of the production takes 5, 6, 7 months, but in terms of ideation that process was super fast.”

The Juice Vol. 2 continues to toy with their style of intentional R&B; songs like “Don’t Be Lazy” jump right to the punch. “Let me lick and taste it,” the two sing with other tracks like “West Coast Love” pays homage to East Coast legends A Tribe Called Quest’s 1990 jam, “Can I Kick It.” There’s also “Iconic,” that toys with the sounds of Miami’s 90s underground. Produced by Dante Jones of THEY., the track aligns with the Los Angeles-based duo's mission of keeping their music free-flowing.

A and V of Emotional Oranges came to be in 2017 but the group moved as a collective comprised of “normal people” in 2015. Those people included songwriters and producers, leading many to wonder just who made up the group. Speaking to Noisey earlier this year, EO shared how their debut single “Motion” doesn’t feature V, but another vocalist. "If you listen real carefully, on our first single ‘Motion,’ that’s our first singer. She's an A&R at a big label. The rest of the songs are our new singer," they said at the time. “We've all worked regular jobs. We're very regular people. And we came together for one unified vision. I tried a lot of things in my life that didn't work. I tried to put so many things together. It just came down to authenticity.” Some of the things that didn’t work were trying to bend towards a label's passive-aggressive suggestions.

“When you have labels telling you who you are as an artist, that doesn't work,” A says. “It might work for a song but not for the longevity of your career.” He also shared how artists should be mindful of the relationships they have with a label, a notion that might not be on the mind of a green artist. “It's not the idea of a label it’s the idea of someone telling you that you have to compromise your integrity in order to get to the next level, you have to eliminate that and eliminate the expectations of it to make money off of this tomorrow,” he says.“But for us, I think it's very liberating. We’re releasing music we love and not being given a deadline or told what to wear. To free yourself from all these things has been the most liberating for us.”

With their loyal and true fan base known as the “citrus squad,” Emotional Oranges got to experience just how deep their influence has been. Their fan merch with the simple words “emotional” across the right side of their tees and sweatshirts were later seen in the stores of Forever 21 without any credit. “I take it as a compliment,” V says. “They always copy what’s hot.”

Merch:

Forever 21:

They’re also one of the artists who provide a phone number for their fans. It’s not a way of funneling data for EO, but instead, a way for them to get to know their squad. “Even at the shows, they’ll come backstage and tell us their names. One time, there were four different couples in Toronto who bought meet and greet tickets twice," V recalls. "They spent $150 each twice in three months. They all said, ‘Do you remember us?’ and it’s like, ‘Of course!’ Moments like that have been great.”

“They’ll also tell their family members to come to shows,” V adds while asking A about a Texas-based fan who shared his love for EO with his twin sister from Durham. That curious person then became a fan, stretching the Emotional Oranges family a little further.

As their music continues to reach lovers of soul and today’s modern R&B, Emotional Oranges are holding on to the elements that actually matter. From storytelling, funky beats and universal perspectives, they have a gift of making it all work. “I think we haven't pigeon-holed ourselves, or put ourselves in a box,” V ironically says as she toys with an orange from our snack area. “I think we kind of live outside the box. We can really play, which I think is fun since where we go from here is up to us.”

From the Web

More on Vibe

Ashanti Douglas attends "It's a Wonderful Lifetime” first holiday party of the year at STK Los Angeles on October 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Lifetime

Ashanti Joins Omarion's Millennium Tour

Our prayers for a female presence on Omarion's Millenium Tour have been answered with one of the most talented singers in R&B.

On Thursday (Dec. 5), Omarion announced singer-songwriter Ashanti as a special guest for the upcoming tour. "So excited to announce that Ashanti will be joining The Millennium Tour lineup!" he said in an Instagram post. The singer announced the follow-up show last week to what was perceived as a B2K reunion tour featuring Mario, Lloyd, Pretty Ricky, Chingy, Bobby Valentino and the Ying Yang Twins earlier this year.

Hailed as The "Millenium Tour 2020," the new bill features Soulja Boy and Sammie, with the Ying Yang Twins, Pretty Ricky and Lloyd returning to the mix. The tour will also include Bow Wow, who has several jams (and an album) with Omarion like "Let Me Hold You" and "Girlfriend."

Before joining the tour, Ashanti was a special guest during Lloyd's performances of their 2004 hit, "Southside." With such a large and memorable discography, fans will be thrilled to hear some of the Grammy-winner's biggest hits like "Foolish," "Only U," and recent releases like "Say Less" featuring Ty Dolla $ign and "Pretty Little Thing" featuring Afro B.

This will more than likely be a another big financial boost to the tour. The inaugural Millennium Tour grossed $6.7 million from its first eight reports, according to Billboard and set a career-high for B2K. They also went on to earn $5 million from three additional dates at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. (April 13-14), State Farm Arena in Atlanta (April 4-5), and Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. (April 12).

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by ⚡️Omarion ⚡️ (@omarion) on Dec 5, 2019 at 5:57am PST

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Fabolous Clarifies Comments About Shiggy And Paid Promotional Posts

Fabolous is all about his friends–including Shiggy–making their bread. The rapper cleared up an assumed incident between himself and the comedian during an interview with Ebro in The Morning after he was criticized for slamming Shiggy for demanding a check for promoted social posts.

Earlier this week, an exchange between Fab, Casanova and Shiggy about the matter was seen on Instagram Live after Shiggy explained why he doesn't create "challenge" dances for free. In light of his new single "Choosy," he asked his pal for a #ChoosyChallenge dance post to support it. Shiggy said he would be down to do it–but had to receive a check first.

Shiggy's profile has skyrocketed since he created the #InMyFeelings challenge in 2018. The challenge helped boost Drake's single and led to the comedian going on tour with him. He's also found himself in some awkward situations with rappers nearly bullying him into providing his influence for their music. During Shiggy's exchange with Casanova and Fab, it seemed that Shiggy's request was frowned upon.

Speaking to Ebro, Laura Stylez and Peter Rosenberg, Fab says his criticism of Shiggy was a joke and he's well aware that the comedian should receive a check for his services.

"It was all a play to play with Shiggy," he said. "Shiggy is a joking person, so you joke back with him. So my joke to him was, this first time I'm seeing him, he was at my show, and just like, 'Wow, look at Shiggy.' So I hit Shiggy just because we was starting the challenge of it and just because I know him personally. We have a cool relationship.  So I was just like, 'Yo man, it'd be cool if you do something for the new joint, for 'Choosy.'' And he's like, 'Yeah, yeah, see if you get me a check or something.' And even when he said it, I didn't take no offense to it, because I even see now, social media and the social media influencers, record labels do that. But me personally, I don't personally pay people, you know what I'm saying? I even told him like, 'I'mma see if Def Jam can get you a check. Let me figure it out.'"

Shiggy hasn't responded to the drama but he did say in his Instagram stories, "I didn't change, I just learned my lesson."

Check out the rest of Fab's interview below.

Continue Reading
Andre Harrell attends Premiere Of Netflix's "The Black Godfather" at Paramount Theater on the Paramount Studios lot on June 03, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Miniseries Based On Uptown Records Heads To BET

In the age of documenting some of music's most pivotal entities, BET is stepping into that ring again with its latest series addition. The network gave the green light to a three-part miniseries that'll tell the story of Uptown Records.

Founded in the late 80s by longstanding music industry executive Andre Harrell, the label helped shape and promote the careers of Mary J. Blige, Al B. Sure, Heavy D & the Boyz, Jodeci, The Notorious B.I.G., and served as a springboard for Diddy to launch his own imprint, Bad Boy Records. The program will be executive produced by Jesse Collins who worked behind-the-scenes on the network's hit biopics The New Edition Story, and The Bobby Brown Story.

"I am thrilled to partner with BET Networks and Jesse Collins Entertainment to share my story, the rise of Uptown Records and successful black entrepreneurship, and the management and cultivation of some of the most iconic artists to come out of the late '80s and '90s hip-hop, R&B and soul music era," Harrell said in a statement.

In a 2012 interview with Mega Diversities, Harrell shared what encouraged him to embark on a journey in the music business.

In 1985, I was the road manager for LL Cool J.  We did a show in New Jersey.  At the time, his first album Radio was released and had critical acclaim with its hip-hop ballads and hybrid sounds.  It appealed to a younger music audience who were instrumental in the LP’s success.  I thought it was interesting that he became one of the first rappers to crossover.  The album went platinum. The record helped establish both with Def Jam as a label (with a distribution deal with Columbia Records the following year) and LL Cool J as a rapper.  Seeing the commercial success of the LP made me realize the benefits of being in the business side of the industry.  In addition, Radio contributed to the displacement of the old school hip-hop by the new school genre (where artists tended to compose shorter with a self-assertive style). This pivotal moment in the history and the culture of rap made me see that it was time to go behind the camera and find a new style for my future artists.

Uptown will premiere in 2020.

Continue Reading

Top Stories