The Toronto-based vocalist's new album is a soulful, introspective, and artistically daring project.
The Toronto-based singer-songwriter and classically trained musician formerly known as Ayah has always delivered artistically engaging music. (For the uninitiated, check out her past collaborations with DJ Jazzy Jeff, James Poyser, or local artist Slakah the Beatchild.) Her latest sees her in a transformative mood as she leaves behind her old moniker and re-emerges as Merna.
The Calling was executive produced by none other than Ali Shaheed Muhammad from classic hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest; its 10 tracks have an explorative feel, with elements of R&B, soul, pop, and trip hop blended in.
One immediately gets the sense that Merna is repping a new phase in her life with the edgy “Young & Restless,” the emotional “A Little More,” and the introspective “Intervention (Superman).” And if you like the sounds of Jill Scott, Adele, or Marsha Ambrosius, this album is worth looking into.
The Calling feels raw and unflinchingly honest—it’s a soul album that will grab you and stay with you.