Home Read Albums Of The Week: Jelani Aryeh | I’ve Got Some Living To...

Albums Of The Week: Jelani Aryeh | I’ve Got Some Living To Do

The young San Diego singer-songwriter resists pigeonholing on his eclectic debut.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jelani Aryeh is a 21-year-old Filipino/African-American artist with the ability to effortlessly transcend genres while crafting timeless songs with an emotional depth far beyond his years. His music reimagines the classic sounds of indie rock, alternative, and folk through the lens of a mixed-race kid who grew up in suburban San Diego. Standing out from the crowd in an era of memes and social media virality, Jelani brings an emotional depth, spirituality, and substance to his songs.

Growing as a young adult and an artist, Jelani is expanding his sonic palette, working with new collaborators, and writing with newfound confidence about matters of the head and the heart. “For a lot of kids my age, I see that we numb ourselves in order to carry on with our lives. I want to make people take a step back and reflect on those times where we turned the switch off,” Jelani says.

I’ve Got Some Living To Do sees Jelani exploring new sonic territory. “It’s always been a dream to make a guitar-driven record. I think it stems from meeting my ex-girlfriend and her putting me onto bands like Cage The Elephant, The 1975 and Milky Chance,” recalls Jelani. “I fell into a rabbit hole of indie rock, psych rock, noise rock, glam, and folk. That’s just what I like listening to now. Brian Eno, Sonic Youth, Wilco, Radiohead, Love, The Beatles. It just consumes me.”

Back in 2019, Jelani released his debut EP Helvetica, exploring topics like racial identity, following his dreams, and his decision to pursue music over a promising football career. Jelani spent 2020 working on new music and shared the single Stella Brown, an upbeat ode to brunettes and young love. This past March, Jelani showed another side of his upcoming album with the release of the sunny, aspirational Marigold. The single From These Heights explores darker territory with swirling electric guitars and existential 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,” reflects Jelani. “It was a chaotic time and everything felt like it was in flux. I think that made me want to escape this reality a bit.”