Hailing from South East London, Puma Blue—the alias of Jacob Allen—cites Billie Holiday and Jeff Buckley as influences, and has been steadily bubbling online for a while. While predominantly existing in the space of lo-fi R&B, his sounds can fit into several genres—which is part of the appeal. Take last year's debut EP, Swum Baby, a 5-track collection of hazy, atmospheric grooves: you might not be able to define exactly what you're listening to, but you'll end up listening right the way through, with each track flowing effortlessly into the next.
Puma Blue can also be heard producing beats under two separate monikers on SoundCloud, Boss Nass and Ruby Bliels, where you'll find a whole range of styles from minimalist hip-hop to avant-garde electronics. His latest song, "Only Trying 2 Tell U" (originally released in demo form back in 2014), has us most excited though. Released last month, the self-produced track captures Puma Blue at his best and points to what could be a very promising 2018.
A must-hear: "Only Trying 2 Tell U"
"'Only Trying 2 Tell U' was originally written and recorded in one day in the summer of 2014. When I laid down that demo, D'Angelo's music had been really speaking to me at the time, so I was inspired to lay down layers of vocals over that swung 6/8 thing. Recording it again, it took on a new meaning for me after losing someone again. It needed to be darker, but I wanted to retain that same sparseness from before."—Puma Blue