Independent pop has been struggling to find an identity to match the diverse content of the 2023 sound lately, and I believe that I’ve figured out why. As much as the pop establishment would like for content to be a little more cookie cutter-predictable and marketable to a specific audience, that just isn’t the case for the melting pot of talent that the independent music scene is sporting these days.
Thanks to social networking and the relationships it’s fostered between artists on the international level, pop has been completely changed, and bold musicians like Washington’s Ronnue are taking control of the industry from here on out. While there have been a number of exciting new performers taking advantage of this transitional period in pop, none have been as dominantly visible as this guy has for an R&B underground out of the Seattle scene that he’s handily taken over as his own.
Ronnue’s new single “You Got Me Open” has the potential, much like his previous cuts, to go surging through the indie soul community like nobody’s business, and it isn’t just because of its singer’s incredibly magnetic voice. It’s got a lot to do with his attitude, which in itself is highly reflective of the movement he’s spurring. Ronnue doesn’t care about what his peers are doing or the music that they’re trying to write. His only concern is his own work and making it as potent as it can be. It’s not that he’s a selfish artist, in fact, quite the contrary; he knows that in order to make a lasting impact in music, you can never follow the beat of another’s drum.
A lot of critics will compare Ronnue and his musical persona to that of 90s new jack swing artists and the crossover pop sound that they popularized, which is rather fair in my perspective. While none can deny that the generation of players influenced Ronnue’s style, to say that his material is a product of his forerunner’s design is insulting. “You Got Me Open” isn’t a throwback or a retrospective; it’s a slice of R&B gold that’s been composed by one of the genre’s most intriguing indie minds. Ronnue is a guy who wants to own his sound, and that’s evident in a performance of this caliber.
This man can do a lot with a rather simplistic set of verses when he wants to, and I think that once “You Got Me Open” hits college airwaves it’s going to be hard for Ronnue to turn down the love he gets from his fans. He’s learned a lot in the short time he’s been in the spotlight, but he’s also been moving a lot faster than some of his contemporaries – for better and worse, some might be inclined to argue. There’s no need to hurry this artist along; he’s got the talent and the right sensibilities to be a star, now it’s just about making sure that his work gets the exposure that it really deserves.