Jada Nycole Ellise Reps For Detroit History In « Old Redford »

« You are my very first sunshine after the storm » Jada Nycole Ellise

Few places in the world have impacted music history like Detroit. During the 60’s, Motor City became the epicenter of the music industry through Berry Gordy’s label, Motown. A home for Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and The Jackson 5, Motown wasn’t just a fulcrum of the music industry, it was – and remains to this day – a symbol of black excellence.

The greatness of Detroit travelled and translated in many genres. Through hip-hop, Detroit blessed the world with the genius of the late great J.Dilla. 15 years after his death, the heart and soul of Slum Village and super collective Soulquarians’ influence still spreads.

Deeply-rooted in that history, Jada Nycole Ellise shows how an artist should move in light of such great lineage.

« Run away with me, be my runaway / Come along with me, we’ll see brighter days » Lovers Chant.

Jada Nycole Ellise learned her trade in Motor City, placing 2nd in the Detroit Jazz Festival’s Youth Vocal competition. After performing in several venues across the country, she formally launched her career, releasing a first EP, SiO2 in 2016. With the delightful « First Sunshyne » and « Up », this very first project laid the solid foundation of her soulful artistry, you could already hear maturity blended with a jazzy sense of playfulness in her delivery.

Two years after her first EP, Jada Nycole Ellise released a second EP, Going Direct. The 7-track project included a second version of « First Sunshyne ». Titles like « Soul Ties » further proved how personal and intimate her writing is. Moreover, Going Direct highlighted the intensity of Ellise’s work, except for « Friendzone » she wrote every song and produced or co-produced (with producer Luxe) them as well.

« A couple heart aches stronger, 23 might be my lucky number , So I’mma leave it all in the past » Twenty-Tree

In 2019, Ellise started to tease her first full-length project with singles « Petty », « My Time » and the irresistible loosie « Twenty-Tree ». Those tracks conveyed a desire to head towards brighter colors.

After a few years of development, Jada Nycole Ellise took a big step and released her debut album Temporary Colors, last June. She described her album as an « an exploration of private intimacy and a peek at her inner dialogue ». That statement transpired from the very first song « Green Tea » where a sense of purity spreads, dominates and guides us on the path of immersion, into the different parts of the singer’s introspection.

« This is my sentiment/Questioning if being here is truly fulfilling / I feel like I’m out of bounds / Wanting to know the meaning of belonging » The City

Jada Nycole Ellise’s writing captured intamacy, relationships, love, but also the theme of home with « The City » and « Georgia ». Describing herself as a Detroit made and Atlanta saved individual, she reminded us how one can find a sense of belonging away from home, much like a new friend that would understand us as much as an old friend or a family member could. Working mostly as a one-woman band (3 tracks were co-written with Ivontae Corbin), Ellise gave a greater dimension to her songs by way of aerial harmonies, soothing instrumentations and refined musicianship.

« This that new age Motown reincarnated » Old Redford

After the great step that Temporary Colors symbolized, it was only right to get back to where it all started. With her latest single « Old Redford », Jada proudly reps the city and the neighborhood she grew up in. Driven by a smooth mixture of neo-soul and hip-hop, « Old Redford » is an undeniable bop, Jada Nycole Ellise shines with an enthust delivery, she exudes a contagious sense of pride.

« Like they so proud of us/Yeah they so proud of us/I know they so proud of us/But they want more for us » Old Redford

The last words of the song are very crucial, they manifest Jada Nycole Ellise’s approach. As she pays homage to her elders, she let us know that the only possible motion is forward. Building on influences to take the culture further is the recipient of great art.

Alfred Dilou

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