Billy Miles

Hailing from Southern California, Billy Miles proudly pays no heed to any clear-cut stylistic genre boundaries. The cultural contrasts of her multi-racial background—her father is African-American, her mother Eurasian with Japanese and British roots—have led her to blend old-school soul, jazz, hip-hop, pop, rock, R&B, and the blues into a engaging and striking sound on her debut. The sultry blues-flavored "Your Love's a Lie" begins with the sounds of strings and the scratchy surface noise of an old record as an homage to the old LPs by female vocalists like Nina Simone and Eartha Kitt that Miles listened to while creating this record. The song sets the tone for the rest of the record, with its category-defying blend of beat-driven R&B, gospel-like organ sounds, synthesized string arrangement, and a brief burst of a contemporary blues guitar solo. Other tracks fuse jazz horns, hip-hop beats, and a reggae melody ("I Know") or bouncy Prince-style pop with trumpet flourishes recalling Bing Crosby records ("We Can't Help You"). The delightful musical interplay of styles—combined with Miles' distinctive and sultry vocals—make Billy Miles a promising album from an intriguing new artist.

Mike Sauter, WYEP Music Director