Music

“The Girls Saved Us” – Thandi’s UK R&B Faves

In a world where Tiana Major9 sits as a Grammy nominee, Mnelia releases ‘Say Yeah’ in acoustic, and R.A.E masters the 90’s sound - how can R&B be deceased in this United Kingdom - when all these queens are still steering the boat?

Could 2020 have marked the return of R&B in the UK? From love ballads to situationships, to the most heart-wrenching songs – the UK girls have flown the flag for neo-soul (and more), at a global scale and during a pandemic. This ever-growing genre, which in this era has evolved to amalgamate with other sounds to create an “alternative” classification, has had its fair share of critique – with talk of its “death”. As quoted by Shae Universe to 9bills “No one is championed and people can’t be bothered to go out and look for it. Music is so fast-paced now and everyone wants the quick alternative; I don’t think R&B is dead at all.” 

So, who else to put you on, but me? To show appreciation to the women who’ve saved my emotions, inspired my inner “ayyy” and made my eyes well at their achievements – here is this week’s list of rising stars and soon to be G.O.A.T.S of the UK R&B/Neo-Soul scene. 


Photo credit @IBeBellah on Instagram
  1. Bellah.
    Allow yourself to take in this babe, before it’s too late! Bellah really has the sound that epitomises the genre; mixing sass, passion and some fun hooks to create something unique.
    Her profile has steadily been rising throughout 2020 with playlist spots on BBC 1xtra and Kiss Fresh. A nod in Guap Mag’s Class of 2020 and almost a million streams on Spotify, Bellah is one to keep an eye on.

    Bellah makes it on the list for songs like: ‘Half of Me’, ‘Cause You Can’, ‘Good Thing’ and ‘Something U Like’.
    Her latest EP, The Art Of Conversation really had me talking.

Photo credit @Mneliaa on Instagram

2. Mnelia
She was first introduced to me while driving with the top off on the baby Range, while on holiday. The sun was shining – I’d had a few Peach Bellinis – but her voice, lyrics and dominance on ‘Say Yeah’ really exaggerated the situation – carefree. I love that about her songs, she’s outspoken. Definitely pick me up after a no-text- back-situation.

Mnelia has the ability to melodise your thoughts and feelings and sing them back at ya with a flavour that is sweet.

Her latest EP, After 6 should be played after 6. Unwind to: ‘Back To You’ and ‘Ro’s Lullaby.’ 


  1. Rebecca Garton
    Rebecca has a voice that embodies versatility. I think that’s why all her songs are always enjoyable. She’s here for a fun time, and a long time – I rate that.
    She is the sort of artist that you can trust to bring the vibes on a tune, you know that you will give a Rebecca Garton track a listen at least once (maybe twice and thrice)

    Notable tracks – ‘Comfortable’ ft Jeremiah, ‘All Me PT2‘ – when she invited all the girls on the track – can the crowd say iconic?

Photo credit @egoellamay on Instagram

4. Ego Ella May 
What a voice. EEM’s gift to her listeners and stamp on all her tracks is how strategic every riff from her vocals are. This cannot be re-made nor can it be duplicated. Total babe riding the neo-soul and Jazz sector
This year she not only kept us going with her sultry tones but also bagged a MOBO award in the process, putting herself firmly on the map to becoming a great.

Listen to this queen’s COLORS SHOW rendition of ‘In The Morning’ or ‘Girls Don’t Always Sing About Boys‘. 


5. R.A.E 
Independent and hard-working. There is no one in R.A.E’s lane. I think my favourite thing about R.A.E is how perfectly PG her songs are. Too right, she’s the coolest example to her listeners – equally equipped with the best dance moves.

It can sometimes be tough to stand out when there are certain roads you wont take or ways you wont bend (literally) but R.A.E’s insta bio says it all: she’s #TheCoolest

You should listen to ‘Like This‘ and my favourite ‘Summer Love‘.


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