As the title of his upcoming debut album suggests, Jelani Aryeh has got some living to do. In fact, we all do right now. With I’ve Got Some Living To Do, set for release on July 30, Aryeh releases the perfect soundtrack to resume life as lockdown restrictions loosen. The album takes a buoyant but wide-eyed approach to starting a new chapter, and although it is full of hope, I’ve Got Some Living To Do is also a sober look at “normal” life after a year of death and isolation. 

In the song “Marigold,” which was released in March as the lead single to the record, Aryeh sings of the sun god. It’s equal parts guitar-pop, psychedelia, and soul all in one, with lyrics that discuss miracles. “Getting a hold of you is like clutching a cloud,” Aryeh sings, joyous but with an understanding of how difficult holding onto joy can be. It’s with simple words like these that Aryeh articulates the current moment as we stand on the precipice of a new chapter. We all have some living to do now, but life will never be the same as before. 

After he gained recognition with his 2019 EP Helvetica and breakout single “Stella Brown” in 2020, San Diego suburbanite Jelani Aryeh made a name for himself as an empathetic songwriter, able to speak plainly to human experience with the craftsmanship of a folk artist, but in a way that feels modern. Inspired by everyone from Childish Gambino to Velvet Underground, Aryeh’s I’ve Got Some Living To Do is a collage of genres, eras, and details, resulting in “songs you can live in,” as he describes.  

To learn more about his record, Aryeh joins us over a Zoom call from his childhood bedroom. Painted in a fitting marigold yellow, the walls of his room feature a patchwork of unframed posters, including everything from surrealist art prints to psychedelic mantras. It’s one of his last weeks living at home before moving to Los Angeles full time. But he hasn’t packed his things yet, including one poster that reads prophetically in capital letters, “GUIDE TO THE BEYOND.” Aryeh seems ready to leave home. It’s time. 

Again, the title I’ve Got Some Living To Do seems to echo in his own life. Faced with moving out of his childhood home and the release of his debut album, which he has worked on for over a year, Aryeh is ready for the impending changes.

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