Material: TwoLips is more than just the stage moniker of Kianah Jay. It's a narrative that blends her musical influences with the painful effects of growing up as a bi-racial child on a Native American Indian reservation in New Mexico. Today, TwoLips is a bold solo artist who is known throughout the Los Angeles indie rock scene for her extravagant stage presence and her unique sense of fashion. The debut EP (Yellow Gold) encompasses the emotional scars of her upbringing with elements of alternative R&B, jazz, avant-pop, indie pop, artpop and indie rock. One of the best tracks from this EP is “Bus Money,” a sophisti-pop song with jazz-fusion arrangements.
Musicianship: Prior to embarking upon her career as a solo artist in Los Angeles, TwoLips sang lead in an emo band called Consider This Silence and an electronica band called BoxcarStrainsun. Although short lived, these experiences undoubtedly contributed to the diversity of her current sound and the making of songs like “Filthy Hands,” an experimental R&B composition that features elements of trip hop and conscious rap. TwoLips co-wrote her debut solo EP with producer Josh Reinhardt. Together, these two musicians created a genre-bending collection of songs that range from alternative rock music to socially conscious soul. In that regard, the musicality of TwoLips draws a comparison to solo artists like Santigold and JMSN, while vocally her tone comparable to Erykah Badu.
Performance: TwoLips performed a six-song set on the third day of Echo Parking Rising. The songstress opened her 30-minute show with a track called “Peeping Tom,” a sophistipop song arranged similarly to “Sweetest Tabo” by Sade. TwoLips engaged the capacity crowd at The Echo with her charisma, dancing cheerfully in front of her multi-cultural backup band with the energy of a youthful Gwen Stefani. The highlight of this concert was the artist’s performance of “Tight Dope Bad,” a reggae-pop song with heavy dub and rocksteady components.
Summary: Kianah Jay describes herself as a “Black Sheep.” But ironically enough, it is her individuality and distinctive brand of alternative R&B that has helped her create a niche for herself, right in the middle of Echo Park’s thriving indie-rock scene. If she ever decides to elaborate upon the pain of her childhood and adolescence by writing a couple of emotional ballads, her cult following just might become a movement.
The Echo Los Angeles, CA