Imani Wj Wright is an 18 year old Baltimore artist, whose growth as a musician includes his time on scholarship at the Peabody Institute, and The Lyric Opera House of Baltimore, where he wrote an opera titled ‘Industrial Love’. He also spent an extensive stint at American University under the auspices of the Washington National Opera. Additionally, he was unanimously voted ‘Male Singer of the Year’ at his high school.
With Imani, it’s the voice that matters most. A golden, fluid instrument, it effortlessly glides among blues, soul, and R&B flavors while conveying a wealth of emotion with each uttered phrase. It serves him well on his self-produced barebones track, “Appreciation”, and it’s certainly the highpoint of his previous, and more fleshed out track, “Window”, featuring the rapper Mile$.
Yet for all its R&B undertow and soulful shuffles, the “Appreciation’s” essence is also in its acoustic-grounded and percussive excavations, in what sounds like a freestyle, live, one-take recording. It is what gives the track its candid immediacy and edgy emotional slant.
When Imani Wj Wright sings of the sweetness of life, you can feel his high. When he croons about the pain, the ache comes through clearly, even though in both cases Imani accomplishes this through subtle vocal intonations.
It’s the aural equivalent of an arched eyebrow or the wiping of a single tear. The pleasures of Imani’s music can best be found through an appreciation of his singing. This assumption is obviously made on the premise that I have only heard one or two songs by the artist for now.
Songwriters tend to set their material in three places: the past, through memory and reflection; the present, through observation of the world around them; and the future, using the power of the imagination. As a lyricist, Imani tends to combine the three approaches.
As a consequence his songs have more depth than what the words might seem to transmit on first listen. This approach offers both instant gratification, but also challenges the listener to discover the song’s personal significance to the author, as well as its significance to themselves.
Imani Wj Wright’s voice resonates with the knowledge of living in an unpredictable world in “Appreciation”, where things are in constant evolution, and can change, often for the worst, and when you least expect them to. And he uses the lyrics as a front in which he can invest phrasings with deep feelings. This track is an eclectic, stripped down love ballad which pulls at the heartstrings and leaves you wanting more.