Sonder is the alias that R&B star Brent Faiyaz goes by when he is teaming up with producers, Atu and Dpat. Faiyaz even has the word, “sonder” tattooed above his right eyebrow. Sonder basically means a recognition of the universality of life and the complex creation it weaves – heartbreak, grief, happiness, love are each a part of our own individual web.
Brent Faiyaz uses his actual name as a means to reflect more of his lifestyle as an artist. His sound is sonically shifting the genre of R&B alone – adding a more modern influence of trap and soul. These songs are much more about his constant struggle and obsession with the vices he falls privy to – drugs, sex, love, even material desires.
Sonder, however, is where Faiyaz goes to explore his more vulnerable emotions on a track. With that vulnerability comes the stripped down vocals, more riffs and emphasis on story-telling.
“Nobody But You” mimics the 90’s era of R&B love ballads, a dialogue of a romantic relationship starts to play out between the two vocalists. Faiyaz’’s vocals paired along with Jorja create a dynamic similar to that of Alicia Keys and Usher – a power couple.
This single’s instrumentation is carried mostly by acoustic guitar riffs, already a big sonic shift from Faiyaz’s previous singles such as, “Fuck The World” – where his vocals are distorted and warped into baritone echoes. On “Nobody But You,” Faiyaz uses the sensitive bravado of his voice as he begs for redemption from Smith.
Smith insists that the relationship makes her feel like a fool, and for Faiyaz a failure as a man. Sonder dropped a lyric video along with the single, which features several images of people either on their phone, or waiting for it to go off. There is a flashing hotline number on the bottom, that states it’s: for lovers only, Real connections, Call now.
That image is soon replaced with a different hotline number, which offers to break your heart for a reasonable price and has 24 hour availability. The sudden swift from having an emotionally mature conversation to heartbreak seems inevitable, and all too fast.
The first hotline is reserved for those who have found love only – love becomes an anomaly, an exclusive potion and experience that only some will get to indulge in.
Faiyaz is lost in the relativity of the human emotion – how love and happiness are not ever guaranteed, but death and heartbreak is. Smith’s vocals are perfect on this track, her voice like sugar cubes melting into the bitterness of the soft chords.
Stream Sonder’s “Nobody But You” featuring Jorja Smith and his other latest single, “TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG.”