21 year old Filipino/African-American artist Jelani Aryeh crafts timeless songs with emotional depth beyond his years. Sonically he re-imagines the classic sounds of indie rock, alternative, and folk through the lens of a mixed race kid who grew up in suburban San Diego. His new album I’ve Got Some Living To Do is one of the most impressive and accomplished debuts of 2021 and will be released on No Matter/Imperial this summer.
Jelani gives us another taste of his debut with his stunning new single “From These Heights” that combines his knack for catchy songwriting with deep existentialist undertones. “I wrote this song around the time when George Floyd was killed, there were wildfires everywhere, and it genuinely felt like the world was coming to an end,” Jelani says of the track. “It was a chaotic time and everything felt like it was in flux. I think that made me want to escape reality a bit.”
Like the rest of the world, Jelani spent 2020 alone and indoors, using the time to work on new music. The first offering from this period of isolation was the single “Stella Brown,” an upbeat ode to brunettes and young love. The song resonated worldwide, clocking up more than 20 million streams, landing covers on coveted playlists including Lorem and New Music Daily, critical acclaim from Zane Lowe and cemented his place as an exciting new artist to watch.
This past March, Jelani showed another side of his upcoming debut with the release of the sunny, aspirational single “Marigold.” He tells us “What set off the idea for this song was actually the meaning of my name Jelani Aryeh – Jelani meaning mighty in Swahili and Aryeh meaning lion in Hebrew. So when I found out that the nickname for marigolds was actually “little lions”I was like oh it’s go time.”