In every way, Heistheartist (He Is The Artist) the American Christian singer-songwriter from Central Islip, NY, looks and sounds the part of the ultra-modern spiritually-inclined singer with an acoustic soul twist – conscious, profound, and articulate. All the ingredients are there. Formerly a secular neo-soul singer signed to Bentley Records under his biological name LeeMann Bassey, Heistheartist discovered that his true calling was with the Lord after hearing an inspiring sermon by TD Jakes online one day. Now he brings the look, the spirituality and his intense, quiet self-confidence to the table.
Heistheartist emerges fully-formed on his EP “ROOTS”, and thankfully, he is much more than a Gospel clone. Captivating for his obvious gospel soul attributes (and with crossover to possible rock and pop audience almost certainly in mind) there are more than enough distinctive features about this EP to make us sit up and take notice, as Heistheartist tackles a set of covers and translates them to his own personal style.
The key is in the word “acoustic”. This is a very organic sounding record. Take the songwriter sensibility, add a soulful voice plus minimal arrangements that marry contemporary urban flavors to acoustic guitar forms and you get close to the feel of this EP, which works exceedingly well. The acoustic guitar, as dominant as the instrument is, in this context, is refreshing and there is plenty of melodic variety to hold the interest.
And the rest is worth a lot too. Heistheartist has a great voice – purer, richer with more unusual phrasing than many of his established peers. “ROOTS” retains a warm, organic feel throughout. You will be soothed and uplifted by the sheer artistry of the songs. You will even find yourself swaying and singing along to some of them, which you may already know from previous interpretations by other artists.
If you need a record to calm you down, while you reflect on the essence of your life, during this bleak time of uncertainty, look no further than “ROOTS”. Ultimately, it’s all about growth, discovering the inner you, recognizing your beauty and loving yourself for what you are, rather than be a clone. The EP gently launches itself with an acoustic guitar, instrumental excerpt from Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair” before moving into Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”.
Heistheartist carefully twists and molds these songs to fit his eloquently tender style. Next up is his interpretation of “Lovin You” by Minnie Ripperton. Heistheartist uses a tone and timbre which is more downtempo, conversational and relatable in today’s musical context. “Bright Ideas” is an original composition, with a head-nodding, but still relaxed beat, awash with picked and strummed acoustic guitar sonics.
Heistheartist closes the EP with a cover of Tori Kelly’s “Dear No One”, where he’s lilt and articulation is his own, putting a fresh new spin on it. That’s the beauty of “ROOTS”; you’d be hard-pushed to pick out a track that has aged badly from its original status.
In fact, the whole thing fits wonderfully into the acoustic soul sound of this EP’s overall sonic canon. In a scene where there is a lot of over-processed Pop and Trap, “ROOTS” brings raw warmth that is hard to ignore.