Heistheartist may look like just another eclectic American musical artist, but to underestimate him would clearly be a mistake. The Christian singer-songwriter from Central Islip, NY, is hotly tipped to be the next big sensation on the alternative urban scene. The former secular neo-soul singer signed to Bentley Records under his biological name LeeMann Bassey, skillfully blends hip-hop, R&B and Soul into an acoustic guitar and vocal mélange. He’s clearly an artist with far more depth than his image might lead you to believe.
Heistheartist has gone all in on the power of acoustic soul, and has put together a stunning collection of covers as well as his original work on the EP “ROOTS”. He has taken chances by stripping down the production in these covers, presenting naked versions of the songs – often providing new context and depth to these familiar tunes. These inspiring songs prove that music really can calm and heal us in these troubled times.
There is no fancy production or vocal effects. The one thing that shines through these one-take-like performances, is the quality of the vocalists and musicianship. The EP gets started with the picking of an acoustic guitar, in the instrumental excerpt from Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair”, which fades into Heistheartist’s personal version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”. The more you sing it, the more you feel its truth.
This collection is unlike anything else out there today, and is a welcome addition to acoustic soul music lovers everywhere. Heistheartist teaches us how to love on his interpretation of “Lovin’ You” by Minnie Ripperton.
And lord knows if you watch your social media feeds, you’ll quickly realize that our world is in desperate need of love. That’s the prevailing message of this track, which Heistheartist executes in a more smooth and chilled atmosphere than the original. Music is medicine that’s for sure. This is a gift to us in these troubled times.
“Bright Ideas” is an original track by Heistheartist, which runs on some beautiful and uplifting, strummed guitar motifs. The singer’s words are part education, part affirmation and all part of Heistheartist’s mission to inspire.
Heistheartist vocals are soft and smooth and seem to glide out of the speakers and around the room. I like that while he has the strong vocal ability, he doesn’t feel the need to show them off by doing the vocal acrobatics that so many other artists do and can be annoying to no end.
The Ep finishes with a cover of Tori Kelly’s “Dear No One”, where Heistheartist again reworks the original template into his own personal tone and sonic interpretation. His gift for exploring the depth and complexity of cover songs is on full display here.
Heistheartist’s messages, reflections and affirmations in his musical interpretations are needed now more than ever. You’ll find yourself going back to “ROOTS” regularly, finding even more strength, courage and wisdom in Heistheartist’s performances as time goes by.