After appearing in the R&B scene late last year, artist Lucky Daye proves that he’s in it for the long run with Painted.
by Wanna Thompson
Lucky Daye has finally released his highly-anticipated album, Painted and it was worth the wait. After dropping a series of EP’s and touring with English R&B artist Ella Mai on The Debut Tour, earlier this year, the Los Angeles based singer that touts an impressive résumé of writing credits has delivered a solid album that stays true to his funk-infused, bass heavy roots. In his debut, the crooner’s smooth emotive lyrics and soulful tone make Painted a contender for R&B album of the year.
David Debrandon Brown, also known as performer Lucky Daye isn’t new to the music industry. The New Orleans-bred artist has co-wrote songs for notable artists including Boyz II Men, Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, and many more spanning from 2008. More than a decade later, the R&B artist released the soulful hit “Roll Some Mo’” which stunned R&B enthusiasts and helped aid the transition from singer-songwriter to the main act.
Signing with RCA Records and joint label venture Keep Cool in 2018, home to artists like SZA, Bryson Tiller and Khalid, Daye released the first of his EP series titled I, which features a stimulating collection of five songs, with the second installment of the series titled II is equipped with four tracks including the second single “Karma” which interpolates Ginuwine’s smash hit “Pony” all the while showing of Daye’s impressive vocal style.
In a recent interview, Daye explained his thought process surrounding the release of his album, stating: “We are bringing [the album] out in pieces so people can live with it. My dream would be for other artists to take from it and also do things that are not following the trends.” Implementing the collection of EP’s on his album Painted, the singer unveils four new tracks which compliment the profound body of work. With production by DJ Camper on the somber track “Love You Too Much” and 12 tracks produced by Grammy-award winning writer/producer Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II who has worked with Janet Jackson, Diddy, Rihanna, Ty Dolla $ign and others, Daye’s album is a collection of deep, textured synthesized sounds that have a little bit of something for everyone.
The journey to Lucky Daye’s debut album hasn’t been an easy road, as the singer has opened up about being involved in a religious cult at a young age with his mother. Despite being barred from secular music in his formative years, Daye taught himself melodies by singing Bible verses and Dr. Seuss rhymes. The singer uses music as a mode of self-expression and takes a deep dive into themes including love, sexuality, heartbreak, and strength on Painted. On the day of release, the singer took to social media and posted a message stating: “This album is my first baby. It’s where my heart hides. It’s a colorful window that is exclusively open to the truest form(s) of love. It is a letter to you.”
This album is my first baby. It’s where my heart hides. It’s a colorful window that is exclusively open to the truest form(s) of love. It is a letter to you.
Beginning the LP with “Roll Some Mo,” Daye’s rich, warm vocals captivate you in the first couple of seconds. The stirring tones compliment Daye’s storytelling as he rhymes about smoking and spending quality time with the girl he loves while exploring new heights together. Drawing comparisons to Frank Ocean with the initial release, Daye brings his own unique flavor to the forefront in the harmonious single which perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the perfect summer fling.
Diverting from the slow, sensual guitar strings in “Roll Some Mo,” “Late Night” takes listeners to a different place and makes you want to move your waist in the techno-inspired, upbeat instrumental. Daye sings: “I’ma pour a drink, thought I might drive / Lemme put my waist on your bassline.” Charming and soothing, the singer’s voice excels in every setting, especially in the effortlessly cool “Extra.” Lamenting about a woman who doesn’t have to do much to stand out in a crowd, Daye’s strength lies in serenading and wooing the listener. “Ain’t no need to tell it / You know you get a “A” for effort / You ain’t even gotta do extra”.
For a slower vibe, Daye enlists the sultry number “Concentrate.” The production on this particular track remains one of the best on Painted due to the romantic elements that are present on the track. Equipped with a catchy chorus and late-night text worthy lyrics, this song is sure to make anyone blush. “It’s emotions in your ocean I could drown all day / When we wine and dine it’s too much fun / Pretend love me / Sweet bittersweet liquor intoxicate me.”
Continuing with the slow, intimate vibe “Ready For Love” is the shortest track on the project yet the interlude remains one of the standouts on the album. With beautiful, Latin inspired chords dominating the production which reappears in “Call”, Daye sings picturesque lyrics, “Out of all of my options / You’ll be the top one / Baby, you got one-up / Take me high, get me lighter.”
In the latter half of the album, “Paint It” remains a staple on the project due to Daye’s penchant for funk-infused, electric sounds. Citing that both he and producer D’Mile were “holed up in the studio together for a year, listening to acts like Prince, Chaka Khan and Blackstreet and writing songs,” the track sounds like a love letter to the ultimate genre-bending artist, Prince. Experimenting with a high-pitched voice throughout the undeniable bop, Daye surprises listeners near the end of the track with his rap skills. “Now you say you never leave her and you swore on the Bible / How you gon’ be Bey & Jay when you don’t want no title?”
If you’re in search for a melodic track that’ll have you nodding your head uncontrollably, ”Try Your Fire” follows a similar lead as “Extra” and “Paint It”. Playing off the noticeable funk elements, Daye’s buttery vocals and catchy lyrics will easily earn several spots on your R&B playlists.
One of the most compelling attributes that attracts people to Lucky Daye’s music is his vulnerability. There’s a certain softness amongst the ruggedness that makes the listener want to know more and he delivers every single time. The groovy track “Real Games” and the slow-paced, jazz-inspired song “Misunderstood” display his willingness to put it all on the line with Daye pouring his heart out on the chorus. “I’m missing you but I got no ride / You’re the only one I see, so much for open minds.”
Next, the melancholy track “Floods” takes listeners on a journey of heartbreak and confusion. While the album explores the highs of love in the tenderest way, it thoughtfully documents the rollercoaster of emotions in a raw, honest fashion through the choice of production and haunting lyrics. “But you make seasons change with no fair warning / How you make seasons change without saying something.”
For the album’s finale, the singer closes with “Love You Too Much.” The somber, nearly eight-minute track is complete with a minute-and-a-half-long intro in which Daye lays his pain down on the line. Hurt, confused yet still hopeful about love, the song ultimately ties all of the album’s themes together. Evoking transparent emotion that communicates flawlessly with every listen, the hauntingly beautiful song will have you in your feelings instantly thinking of a past love. “I can’t afford those losses / That’s just my ego talking / You made my heart beat for you / I almost cried too often.”
From start to finish, the album is a perfect introduction to those who just discovered Lucky Daye and fans who’ve been waiting for more from the singer-songwriter. Exploring cool and warm tones, Lucky Daye’s smoky vocals are rich and full of life as he invites the listener into a world that’s uniquely his. Daye doesn’t rely on tricks or trap-infused instrumentals to fit in with the modern R&B crowd, with his talent on the main display he delivers an exciting project fit for those who are in search of meaningful lyrics and vulnerability.
This album successfully explores various elements from different time periods, especially the production that wasn’t shy to push the instrumentals further than what is expected from a R&B artist in 2019. Bringing it back to a time where male artists weren’t afraid to beg for love and affection, he relies on himself, with no features, and it’s more than enough to keep the listener on their toes without needing a big name to secure a hit. Lucky Daye is the real deal and if Painted is any indication of what’s to come, the singer is going to be a household name in the near future.
Be sure to check out Lucky Daye in Toronto when he comes to the city on October 4th. You can buy tickets here.