Tierra Umi Wilson has been making ready for her close-up. Her 2021 EP Introspection Reimagined was, at first look, a untimely step by a brand new artist—a revisitation of her 2020 EP Introspection, the place she was accompanied by a stay band. A re-do felt like pointless filler in a nonetheless nascent profession, however UMI wished her listeners to expertise the levels of her creative maturation in follow—to see the fixed shifts in actual time. On her debut album, Forest within the Metropolis, her expanded musicality and lyrical confidence make it clear what involves fruition when an artist’s improvement is central to their place as an entertainer. Her influences—Erykah Badu, Brandy, SZA—are apparent with out falling into mimicry, and her progress is each thrilling and compelling.
Spanning 15 songs, the album is formidable in its scope even because it treads the oft-wandered territories of self-discovery, stifling lethargy, and sophisticated relationship dynamics. On the standout tracks, slivers of reality meld into fictional songwriting simply sufficient for listeners to catch her reflection. “I wanna be proud of my very own path/I wanna be good to the chums that I’ve” she sings on “sorry,” her syncopated oohs and ahhs holding the lyrics in a smooth body. “I wanna be a stoner with my very own pad/I wanna be cool with my motherfuckin’ dad.” The vibe is chill whereas nonetheless being very actual, an environment that permeates the report. “too late” grapples with the circumstances of showing an excessive amount of too quickly in a relationship, whereas “moonlit room” offers with the difficult longing that comes after separation. On the latter’s refrain UMI delivers her traces with rapid-fire management and readability, projecting ambivalence whereas nonetheless feeling sentimental.
Just like her 2020 EP, UMI wrote all the songs on Forest within the Metropolis. Whereas producers Logiksmind and Psymun seem each right here and on her final challenge, she takes a stronger maintain of the reins and pushes her sound in a extra dynamic course. On “want that i may” she experiments with heavier bass and an digital twist to her voice that’s been stretched to attain a danceable however nonetheless regular lilt. And there’s loads of summer season jam potential on “what would you do,” a music for these pleasantly buzzed membership nights. As she deliberates taking a lover house or just chilling alone, her vibe is cocky and guaranteed, a departure from the earnest ballads of her earlier work. On this house, she’s nonchalant concerning the relationship recreation, observing its monotonous routine and predicting the eventual final result—assembly, hanging out, somebody leaving, somebody staying, and repeat.