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The past two weeks have felt like some sort of alternative reality; waking up and going through each day has felt like there is a heaviness in the air. As we wake up and continue to fight for the Black Lives Matter movement and ensure voices are heard and that justice is served, it is very easy to lose sight of our current mental state. Turning to music as a form of escapism can help us and remind us to celebrate Black creativity, Black stories and Black voices. From going back through the vaults of the classics, to my childhood favourites and discovering the new voices it has all been able to remind me why Black Lives Matter will always matter.

One of the new voices I have been drawn towards that has provided me with everything I need at the moment is rising R&B singer UMI. UMI’s music is a relaxed, laid-back R&B sound that is perfect for moments where you want to just be carefree and not think about anything which, given the current social and political climate, is needed sometimes.

Her musical journey began at a young age and was formed through growing up with a blend of both Japanese and African–American heritage. Influenced by a range of different musical genres like R&B, Gospel, Soul as well as a lot of different Japanese music from her mum, UMI started making music by writing to beats she found on YouTube and created music out of her dorm room whilst studying. Last year she released her first EP, Love Language, and since then UMI has now moved from her dorm room and now works in studios and still creating the low-key chillout R&B vibes she’s known for. Already this year, she has several singles ‘Introspection’, ‘Open Up’ and the latest ‘Pretty Girl’, all of which are on her latest EP Introspection.

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