B~Free is a R&B/Neo-Soul songstress raised here in Milwaukee but currently residing in her birth place of Chicago. She is also a songwriter, producer, and musician. B~Free has been submerged in music since the age of two. She started off singing and playing the piano and progressed to writing and composing music by age 13. From there, she majored in music in high school, got her B.A. in Music Performance in college, and is currently working on a Master’s Degree in Music Education. Somebody is serious about their craft. Armed with an impressive musical background and education, B~Free’s desire is take all she has gained and use it to develop a quality well-rounded gift that she can share with the world. So far she has carried out her desire by creating a strong performance resume. She has taken on venues from the East Coast to the Mid-West, including: The Kennedy Center, The Riverside Theater, The Double Door, etc. And recently she got to share the stage with some impressive names, Slum Village and Dwele. Last month, she took her career to a new level and released her first full length album. Open Mic, Open Heart is an independent studio album that contains eight tracks. The project is all original material that is composed, produced, and performed by B~Free herself. It has been described as having a fusion of sounds that give a real and profound taste of what the Mid-West songbird can do. Let’s get into some tracks.
“When I Go” F/ Zip
The production here is hot. It features some old school deejay mixing, a few other old school Hip-Hop elements, and a smooth soulful aura. The hook is on point as well. B~Free has pleasing vocals at work. The lyrics are merely just repetition of the song title but they still make an impact. The verses are flawless. B~Free brings the perfect harmony for the beat with a strong sense of determination in her tone. The lyrics are of premium quality. They tell the personal story of B~Free chasing her dreams and trying to make it to the top. At the same time, the story is one that anybody who is pursuing a dream can connect to. Additionally, the break before the hook is super catchy and rapper Zip makes a dope contribution towards the end of the track. Some standout lines include: “I can’t keep worrying about the others. I wanna discover how to make my dreams come true. When it’s said and done. I’m ready. And I’m gone be the one. So you better keep your eyes out for the start of my show. Cause you gone wanna know when I go.” Smart and confident lines right there. Overall, this song is a hit. The 90’s R&B/Hip-Hop sound is appealing and the content is super relatable. Lovely beginning to the album.
“9 to 5”
The production here is top notch. It contains a nice blend of instruments, a mid-tempo pace, and a down to earth vibe. The hook is great too. B~Free has clean expressive vocals and the lyrics are honest and meaningful. The verses are rich. B~Free brings a heartfelt and emotional delivery. The lyrics are true to life, thought provoking, and gratifying. They convey the all too familiar sentiment of being fed up with working a gig just to barely make ends meet. Especially, when one’s heart is somewhere else. B~Free really does an excellent job of portraying the situation. Peep it as she reflects: “So tell me, does it matter so much what life your living? Or maybe, does it matter more that you’re living your life. Free of strife and trying to do the best that you can at all times. Can anybody tell me what’s the real reason that I, can’t live out my dreams instead of worrying about a dime. They say it’s not enough to get me by. But still I’ve got to try. Cause I can’t work no 9 to 5.” B~Free was preaching in those lines. This is another track that a lot of people are going to be able to have personal ties to. In the end, this is another winner. It is well done from start to finish, nothing bad to say about it.
“U & I”
The production here is good. It consists of a slower tempo than the previous cuts. Also, there is a variety of light musical elements at work and a very calm vibe. The hook is solid. The vocals are easy on the ears and the lyrics are fine and sentimental. The verses are satisfactory. B~Free delivers sweet flowing vocals that really fit the beat. The lyrics are decent but could have been a little more compelling. The theme of the track centers around working hard to keep a relationship together. So the lyrics could have had just a bit more of a spark to them to make them really hit home with the listener. However, they still get the intended message across that true love requires diligence. All in all, this was a worthy cut. Not B~Free’s best work but still a respectable effort.
**My Two Cents: All eight songs off of Open Mic, Open Heart were very well done and it was hard to narrow it down to just three to review. And when taking into account that B~Free did everything on this album herself, it is hard not to be impressed. She has a great ear for production, her content was choice, and her singing was excellent. She has a strong 90’s style to her work and that is one of my favorite eras of music. Her lyrics can use a little edge here and there but it’s not a huge issue. She definitely gained a new fan in me and I think readers will love her as well. So click that link and take a listen to Open Mic, Open Heart. For more with B~Free, including some cool covers of some popular mainstream hits, visit her YouTube channel. And like the rest of us, she can be found on Twitter and Facebook too. -MinM