Artist Spotlight: Summer Walker

Mack Mendenhall

As a young independent artist, I am constantly exploring new music in the alternative pop and R&B genres for personal inspiration in my original work. Artists like Jhené Aiko, SZA, Kali Uchis, Ella Mai, Jorja Smith, Daniel Caesar, and countless others frequently show up on my playlists with fresh, experimental sounds and a wide range of stylistic elements.

One young artist currently taking the R&B and hip hop world by storm is Summer Walker. Her latest album, Still Over It, debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 in November 2021 and features guest appearances by Cardi B, Pharrell Williams, Ari Lennox, Ciara, Omarion, SZA, Lil Durk, and JT from City Girls. In four short years, Summer Walker went from unknown SoundCloud singer to acquiring the highest-charting R&B album by a female artist since Beyoncé’s Lemonade in 2016.

Who is the powerhouse vocalist behind her newfound success, and what sets her apart from the crowd of other young, new school R&B princesses?

Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, Summer found inspiration in the music of Erykah Badu, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse. Her music career began to take off in 2018 with the release of her single, “Session 32,” on SoundCloud.

In 2019, Summer achieved more fame with the successful single “Playing Games” featuring Bryson Tiller, which was released to promote Summer’s album Over It. The song samples lyrics from Destiny’s Child’s massive 1999 hit “Say My Name.”

Still Over It is a direct sequel to Over It, and it is considered a concept album that follows Summer’s turbulent relationship with producer London on da Track before, during, and after their pregnancy. Singles released to promote the album include “Ex For a Reason” and “No Love.”

When speaking to Apple Music about the significance of Still Over It, Summer asserted, “Take this opportunity to learn from my mistakes. You don’t have to guess if something is love. Love is shown through actions. Stop making excuses for people who don’t show up for you. Don’t ignore the red flags. And don’t think you have to stay somewhere ‘cause you can’t find better – you can and you will. Don’t settle for less.”

Most recently, Summer announced via her Instagram account that an extended version and music video of her recent single, “No Love,” featuring SZA and Cardi B will be released on Friday, March 25. As a longtime fan of R&B and hip hop music, I look forward to exploring Summer Walker’s music further and watching her career unfold over the years to come.

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