Shines is a winner

If you thought R&B in Namibia is dead, like I did, you might want to read further.

15 November 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Let's all hope and pray that Tsumeb's Samuel Shines never changes. With disarming charm, wit and a wholesome nature that makes the majority of the words he speaks sound honest and heartfelt, let's all welcome the rising star of up-tempo R&B.

With an A-list guest line-up comprising of only two artists - Patrick from PDK and Top Cheri - with his debut album Shines changed the narrative of him routinely and unfairly unmentioned among the best singers on the music scene. His album opens up with an intro titled The Camp is here. I must say he doesn't have that quirkiness or commercial hype, and his style and delivery are heavily reminiscent of a 80s and 90s singer. The 15-track debut album goes from entertaining to dark, from wordplay and bravado to issues ranging from his experiences with relationships and chasing his dreams. His beat selection sets Shines up to succeed. This is one of the best Namibian-produced albums of the year and Shines deserves a massive amount of praise for the diligent job he dished out. I Am A Winner is what Namibian R&B needed! Some of the songs that are single-worthy include Priority ft Patrick, Hold On, I Am A Winner, One & Only ft Top Cheri and Tyapula. A pleasant surprise is the diversity in the production throughout the album. On songs like Come Closer you can tell that the beat was inspired by Omarion's Distance, but he executed it in his own way. Tracks like Bood' Up, Bestie and The One give the naysayers like me, who claim R&B is dead in Namibia, what we have been asking for since the Roger and Bertholdt Mbinda era. Above this, Shines has also taken an admirable risk in stepping out of what might be considered a comfort zone for an R&B singer, and into an experimental sonic space; particularly with the song Commissioner, which is an upbeat eclectic mix of sounds with presumably Central African and jazz influences.

Besides all the positive things about the album, personally I do not like the sequencing of the songs. The songs don't flow nicely because of the way they are arranged. The next song starts very abruptly. Luckily for him that does not take away from how nice the songs are. This is his first fully-fledged album, so maybe he really wanted it to be about himself, but I do not like the fact that he only featured two artists. There are songs on the album that would have been nicer with female vocals. Rating: 3.5/5

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