The broad sphere of mellow pop bubbling beneath the mainstream's surface poses one of the most intriguing and surely prosperous futures in all of music. There has been an explosion of artists in recent years labeled everything from DIY to Bedroom Pop to Classic Pop Revival that, with the help of technology's role and duly, the ease at which a creative can mold their work individually, are creating simplistic, laid-back, and wholesomely approachable tracks.
Though vast in their deliveries and musical nuances, these artists seem to share an underlying commonality of mellowness and versatility. Their tracks, cool and calm as the may be, are fitting of just about any situation imaginable. They're emotionally evoking yet light-hearted, warm and approachable yet deep and powerful, simultaneously high and low energy, romantic and heartbroken, fitting of a quiet day at the beach, a wild night out, and everything in between. In that versatility, interpretable meaning, and universal relatability lies the very essence of all history's pop music movements.
Fitting of the current scene and further widening mellow pop's creative breadth are the countless influences and other stylings with which it overlaps. Elements of every movement from rock to indie to hip-hop to soul and R&B can easily be detected in its many sounds. Likewise, mellow pop's influence is being felt throughout music.
New wave multi-dimensional artist ODIE who bears a strong sonic resemblance to an early Kid Cudi, brings together the creative worlds of hip-hop and R&B with the more modern, low key, muted texture of mellow pop. The transcendentalist's collaboration with mellow pop leader, Still Woozy should be seen as a clear and present example of the style's intrinsic knack to seamlessly blend with artists boasting predominant elements of other styles.
Artists like Billy Lemos, notably displayed through his latest single, Burb, bring the down-tempo, calm approach that defines mellow pop to the more abrasive, grimy sounds found in his sometimes hip-hop-influenced delivery.
Gus Dapperton, the artist who has seemingly emerged as mellow pop's spiritual and creative leader, has a style that bleeds electronic experimentation and vocals that weave between classic rock à la Fleetwood Max and neo-soul akin to .
In the seemingly endless expanses of grey area between the broken foundations of traditional genres has emerged the sound, and due to that massive footprint, it cannot truly be defined. It borrows elements from here and there without ever finding solid footing. Again, in this ever-fluctuating width of musicality exists mellow pop's true genius as a style without boundaries or an end of reach.
Some part of it appeals to everyone who enjoys music in whatever sense they may do so. A productively simplistic and thematically complex middle ground.
Simplicity and complexity find no sweeter and smoother median than they do with the buttery styling of emerging mellow pop royalty, Still Woozy. Per his Spotify bio, his real name is Sven, Still Woozy is his solo project, and he records all parts in his garage / studio. But despite his widespread success earned with the handful of singles he's released since the beginning of his career which is as of now less than one year deep, that's about the limit of information available on his artistry or person. But, something about such an artist has always been enticing. What's to learn about him as an individual or a creative is one in the same and can be discovered, assumed, and interpreted through an indulgence in his art.
And what we learn from his art which bleeds of an understated emotional capacity, a bold confidence in his unique approach, a fondness for the downtempo and the calm, and an underlying freshness of creative expression driving a new wave of sonic start-up artists, is that he is simply being himself. From his moniker to his sound, to his music video for Cooks to his bizarre left-of-center album artwork, it is clear that he spends most of his time in the world of his own opaque imagination, and has no trouble letting his introspective creativity show.
His most recent release, Lucy, discussed in brief earlier, is a collaboration with R&B offshoot up and comer, ODIE. The track which is undeniably of Still Woozy’s bubbly, mellow sound, yet perfectly captures and blends the vocal prowess of his soul-singing counterpart, is, thanks to their shared influence, a work of perfection.
It got us thinking about the endless possibilities provided by the creative platform of talented mellow pop producers, instrumentalists, and vocalists. More often than not, and being the case with Still Woozy, these artists tend to be all three and as such come equipped with the range of talent and also the form-fitting kind of approach necessary to collaborate with just about anyone and everyone.
Atop our list of anyone and everyone that would thrive in collaboration with Still Woozy is singer, songwriter, and producer of all things smooth, funky, and dreamlike, Leven Kali. He has had a career as broad and indefinable as any young artist today. Collaborations with Drake and Playboi Carti defined his early career as an artist calling home to hip-hop and R&B, but a wave of solo work which shifts and adjusts through a variety of stylings and approaches has left Leven Kali a jack of all trades. A soulful and silky R&B vocal approach, a knack for funk and pop driven production, and a broad sphere of multi-talented musically genius friends and collaborators have come to define him best as nearly impossible to define.
And yet, akin to the mellow pop artists pushing the boundaries of what we define as pop music, Leven Kali’s signature sound lives in undeniably close quarters with the upbeat, the downtempo, the warm, and the emotionally stirring, making him a snug fit for a collaborative project with a creative from the mellow pop spectrum.
In particular, his production breathes a sort of hometown essence. You can feel the beach, the ocean breeze, the influence of California's long and storied R&B heritage in each of his solo tracks as well as those he's featured on. And that is what makes him and Still Woozy such a promising duo.
The two would be able to each play their hand in production, having little trouble finding a warm, bouncy, undertone middle ground, while their vocal approaches would balance each other perfectly in a way similar to Still Woozy's work with ODIE. A clean blend of two artists who are in and of themselves, clean and simplistic blends of an endless amount of complex musical background and tradition.