Afro-Hawaiian musician Taija Kerr shines in sophomore album ‘Surrender’

An immensely talented artist with a penchant for contemporary soul sounds, Taija Kerr made an indelible mark on the music scene in 2021 with her acclaimed debut album ‘7’. Filled with rich, textured songs that celebrated her Black and Polynesian cultures, her debut album set the standard, but now, with the release of her highly anticipated second album, Taija has proved that ‘7’ was just the beginning.

A gorgeous collection of eight original songs, ‘Surrender’ is arguably Taija‘s most emotionally charged release so far, charting a journey of hurt, recovery, and personal growth. Opening with 'Anywhere' Taija conjures a world of vibrant synth and acoustic tones, creating an enchanting sound that shines with a touch of pop sheen. Taija’s vocals are smooth and utterly captivating, adding depth to the track, while the natural melody and cascading tones of the song deliver an impressive opening experience.

As the album progresses, Taija artfully charts her journey of growth and recovery, with the album’s tone shifting subtly to reflect her progress. In ‘Happi Pts 1&2’, Taija offers light, textured beats and contemporary soul sounds, while ‘Nothin’’ revels in melodic piano keys and rhythmic beats set awash against honest, poetic lyrics and flowing modern melodies. There’s a touch of Arlo Parks and Cleo Sol, and it’s infinitely enjoyable. In songs like 'Why?' and 'Nothin'', Taija continues to develop her modern soul sound and explore the more difficult parts of love and relationships, tackling insecurities and growing distance with strong, emotive performances. 

In ‘Manifest’, Taija hints at new beginnings and moving on, making hard decisions to find solace and explore new paths. Through 'Say My Name' and 'I Like It', Taija explores more expansive sounds, changing up her sound in a curious stylistic choice, before quickly shifting back for the gorgeous closing tracks of 'Collide' and 'Actions (Show Me)'. It's these last two tracks that make the album hit home, with ‘Collide’ delivering moving spoken word passages and echoing sound bites, and 'Actions (Show Me)' leaving you mesmerised through free-flowing jazz vibes and a passionate pitch of 'if you want me, show me."

When announcing the album, Taija shared a simple phrase, “hurt turns to question, question to acceptance, acceptance provokes decision-making, turns into action,” and that’s a perfect way to view the album. Filled with honest, emotive songs of change, transformation, and growth, ‘Surrender’ is an impressive release that perfectly showcases Taija’s talents as an artist and composer.

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