This Is Our Jam: EJ, “Mama, I’m Gonna Sing”

Edwina Johnson (aka EJ) was born in Sweden to a Bajan mother and an Afro-Cuban, guitar-playing father. According to her press materials, EJ grew up surrounded by an eclectic mix of Iranian, Turkish, and Somali influences, and learned to sing at church before moving to London at the age of twelve. It’s a truly global background, one that recalls the pan-cultural, genre-blending landscape of 21st century pop, alongside artists like Rihanna and up-and-comers like Pandr Eyez.
So what does EJ’s mix of influences actually combine to sound like? On “Mama, I’m Gonna Sing,” she rasps an emotional mixture of soul and gospel atop sparse percussion. At just two minutes, the track feels like it could have grown into something more, but as an a capella display of vocal acumen, it works quite well; There aren’t any excesses here, and no fat to trim. It’ll be interesting to see what direction EJ heads with her next single — she seems equally well-suited for pop, R&B, or who knows what else. “Mama, I’m Gonna Sing” doesn’t show all her cards, but it’s not supposed to: This is an introduction to EJ, herself.

"Mama, I’m Gonna Sing"

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