R&B singer and actress Kiana Ledé released her fourth EP, Myself, on June 7 as a statement of pride. Found throughout the album is the 22-year-old artist’s self-confidence, which is an important quality to display to the audience and one that makes the EP very compelling to listen to.
“Myself is such a strong word. Putting yourself first, it’s so hard to do that,” Ledé said in an interview with Billboard. “I hope this EP also helps people understand that … it’s OK to feel vulnerable and just be in the moment and live your life.”
The EP reflects this statement; each song embodies Ledé’s pride in herself and her authentic sound. The first song, “Can I,” describes her desire to date someone who is reluctant to be with her. She directly asks her love interest whether she can see them. Her sincerity and boldness are manifested with a strong beat and enunciated, forthright lyrics.
The strongest song on the EP is “Heavy,” in which Ledé continues to be candid. She describes her struggle with anxiety, which causes indecisiveness: “It takes control, turns my faith into doubt,” she sings. Here, Ledé exposes her difficult feelings with a strong melancholy voice, backed by a soft beat reflecting a sense of despair. The song ends with the voice of Jenifer Lewis telling Ledé to confront her issues. Ledé evidently does this by expressing her challenges with mental health in “Heavy.”
Ledé’s inward struggles may not have been the only contributor to her self-doubt; she has also experienced pressures from outside factors. When she was 14 years old, she was signed to RCA Records after winning a talent contest. The label wanted to manipulate her voice and image into those of a mainstream pop star. Ledé was adamant about adhering to her dream of being a R&B singer and was dropped from the label after three years, a start to her journey toward self-assurance, which is described in the album.
Ledé expresses this self-confidence in “Shawty” by demonstrating her need to care for herself. She sings to her lover, asking if she can take a step back from their relationship, which she promises does not require a breakup. Ledé here asserts herself by stating that she must focus on herself more. She ensures her lover of her affection with her soft vocals and sweet lyrics, indicating that she finds it important to maintain self-care even within a relationship.
Ledé sings with an upbeat tone in “Bouncin,” which features a catchy verse by Offset. She invites the listener to dance with her in a carefree voice, the beat bouncing with her smooth vocals. The song permits the audience to relax and simply have fun, which is just what Ledé allowed herself to do while singing it. This light song indicates the importance of being carefree, which by contrast strengthens the darkness of “Heavy.”
“EX,” which ends the EP, is less strong than the other songs on Myself. As Ledé describes her fondness of her ex, she is sincere with her free and light vocals. The beat is muted, making it feel personal. However, the simplistic lyrics make the song less impactful than the rest of the album. This song is an unwise choice for the ending, as it leaves the listener slightly underwhelmed by an otherwise effective album.
As a musician, Kiana Ledé follows her heart, as is demonstrated by her choice of being an R&B singer, and proudly voices her opinions on Myself. Her authenticity is honorable, as the contemporary music industry is oversaturated with disingenuous songs. Most of these are basic, cookie-cutter pop songs, which, ironically, were the songs Ledé refused to produce. Her sincerity renders her a refreshing singer, certainly one to follow as she develops her sound.