We’ve been patiently awaiting the release of Brika’s debut album since we heard her first single, “Mumbai,” earlier this year. We were instantly blown away by the power of her vocals and their ability to carry songs with minimal production. Since then, our admiration for this Miami-based artist has only continued to grow with each subsequent release.
Voice Memos is the product of a three-year relationship with Grammy-winning songwriter, arranger, pianist and producer Julio Reyes Copello. The pair shared new ideas over the phone via voice messages. These messages would eventually became central to the development of the album, hence the title.
In fact, one of my favorite things about the album is the inclusion of these voice memos. While short, the majority have been strategically placed before the full-length track, allowing the listener to hear an unedited clip before listening to the finished product. Even in these short clips, like opening track “10.13.13” and “4.19.14,” you can feel Brika‘s talent as clearly as you can hear it; the voice memos and the fully produced tracks share a beautiful consistency.
After listening to Voice Memos from start to finish, it’s interesting to hear just how different each song sounds. The album begins with “Expectations” and “Options,” two of the most electronic-heavy tracks and, coincidentally, two of the most accessible tracks. Based on her choice of singles, we had expected a consistent sound throughout the album, but that’s anything but the case.
The fifth track, “Overtime,” features a whimsical jazz arrangement, that offers a totally different sound than the Brika we were previously acquainted with. As we listen to the album, Brika’s versatility as an artist becomes increasingly obvious. Tracks like “Mumbai” and “Gold” have the alternative sound we were expecting from the album, but might catch you by surprise. With “Tetris,” we really hear the strength of Julio Reyes Copello’s production: It’s is the most produced track on the album, but it lends a sound that stands out from the other thirteen tracks. Another standout track, “Go (feat. BOGART),” is the only full-length track with a guest appearance, and a surprising one at that. While we wouldn’t have imagined a rap artist working on this album, BOGART’s verses really complement Brika’s soft vocals throughout the track.
All in all, Voice Memos virtuosically eclectic, an impressive and fully formed debut record from a talented young artist. Stream Voice Memos in full, below.