Where U Really From is a question that Erica Cody has heard one too many times in her life. It is in the first track of her ‘Leoness’ EP that the young R&B singer shows the most promise. Exploring the psychological effects of growing up around casual racism in one three minutes song is no short feat, yet when Cody does it, it feels surprisingly logical.
She knows she’s not the typical image that comes to mind when thinking about Irish artists, but that doesn’t give you the right to touch her hair or make assumptions about her. “If you wanna know me, then please just ask my name”, she soulfully asks of her listeners; many would be delighted to do so if she hadn’t already given plenty of reasons to remember it.
The rest of ‘Leoness’ isn’t as outwardly confrontational, but it does exactly what it promises in giving an insight into who Cody is. She wears her influences on her sleeves, the unmistakable sounds of ‘90s to early ‘00s RnB clearly making its way into the EP’s production. In less remarkable songs like Runaway, it can unfortunately feel a bit too conventional, like something any other RnB singer could have sang.
Thankfully, more often than not, this choice of style feels like a proof of honesty. Cody’s warm voice is the perfect fit for the lush sounds that make up the EP’s soundscape. When she goes into more sensual territories in the closing track Good Intentions, the versatility of her themes can surprise some, but never feels out of place.
Not all of the five songs on ‘Leoness’ are equal, but each shows enormous potential in more than one area. The thorough catchiness of the central track Over & Over proves that the young woman has potential to produce many hits in the future. Simultaneously, the candour that she exhibits through the EP’s lyrics lets her audience know that she won’t sacrifice any part of herself on her way to success.
Cody’s first release may not be completely consistent, but it shows enough integrity and genuine style to make listeners hungry for more.