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Savannah Re stands among the growing list of artists from Toronto’s latest R&B class. She joins names like Raahiim, Shantel May, Shay Lia, Safe, and more who lead the new wave of singers from up north, with each looking to join the established names from Toronto’s first class that includes PartyNextDoor, dvsn, Majid Jordan, Roy Woods, Jessie Reyez, and others. Returning to the spotlight she created thanks to songs like ”Where You Are” and “Homies,” Savannah Re steps forward with a collection of self-aware ballads on her debut EP, Opia.
The Toronto singer presents nine tracks to the world that delve into her love life of today and yesterday. Opia preaches self-awareness as clear as the mirror that holds her reflection. The singer documents various segments of her journey through relationships and accounts for each footstep she takes and for every mile ahead of her. However, that’s only half of the puzzle that makes up the EP. Elsewhere, Savannah shows that manifesting the best can lead to just that when it comes to her attempts at love.
While standing in front of her all-telling mirror, Savannah makes it clear on Opia that she’s among the legion of lovers who consider reassurance as one of their biggest needs. “Solid” beautifully encapsulates her desire to feel comfortable with her love interest. “Honestly, I just, I need you here with me / As long as we can breathe,” she sings. “I need you to be solid.” Whether it exists between them or not, she needs to hear her partner say it and do so without a cast of doubt in their voice. This message is furthered on the project’s title track, but this time it’s her doubts that overshadow all else. “There ain’t much more that you can do to show that you care,” she confesses. “You’re more than qualified, but I’m so unprepared.” All of her self-perceived beauty and ugliness come alive in the mirror and the Toronto native learns that our reflection doesn’t always show us things we want to see.
The realities that present themselves in our reflection can be a bit jarring, but Savannah doesn’t let it stifle her. She takes ownership of it and manifests for the best in her love life. Her most popular release, “Where You Are,” does just that. A married woman in the real world, she details the frustration of not being beside her husband as a result of her musical obligations. Instead of focusing on this grueling distance, she gives herself and her partner something to look forward to with an enticing promise of a steamy night in the bedroom. Even when things are falling apart like they do on “Homies,” Savannah maintains the spirit and confidence to still seek out the best. “You can keep the stress, I want more of you,” she proclaims. “I want more of us / I want less of this.”
A moment must be taken to recognize when Savannah shines the brightest on Opia. The first instance is on “Nothing Into Something” where she speaks openly about the restless butterflies her stomach now holds after she strikes gold with love. “It’s the way that you listen / Baby, you like my best friend,” she says adding, “Wish I could bottle your essence.” The Toronto singer gleams with happiness as she unearths a new love that makes her as cheerful as the animated piano keys that carry the song. Another highlight comes on “Love Me Back” which boasts a phenomenal sample of Romeo Santos’ “Imitadora” which appears at the forefront of the song at its start, all to be drowned out by the song’s thumping bass and the singer’s feisty lyrics. She begs for the reciprocation of her energy on the song, but the song’s composition makes it feel like anything but a plea for love. She’s well aware of what she brings to the table within a relationship, however, she realizes that it’s all pointless when said table doesn’t seat two people.
The results of self-reflection allow us to do one of two things: accept or dismiss what we see. Savannah, who seeks the best for herself, chooses to do the former. On Opia she chases the elusive qualities that she believes bring a dose of euphoria to her life, and she’s beyond honest in pursuing and wanting these things. “This Henny gon’ say what I won’t dare,” she says on “Opia.” One way or another, the truths that she discovers about herself will be voiced out to her world and the people in it, but in accepting them, she allows herself the opportunity to receive the things she manifests for. In addition to creating one of the better R&B releases of the year, Savannah beautifully details the importance of knowing and understanding yourself before beginning a journey towards attaining the things we feel are necessary for our lives.
Opia is out now via 1Music/UMG Canada. Get it here.