L.A. singer and genuine son-of-a-preacher-man DAVIE has lent his golden voice to recordings by Childish Gambino and CeeLo Green, among others. But he’s recently stepped out on his own with his debut EP, Black Gospel Vol. 1, a modern update of church-schooled soul and smooth ‘70s R&B epitomized by the swaggering lead single “Testify.” For The Dowsers, he’s created “a soulful playlist for your ears and your heart.”
Emily King, “Distance”
This song is the most beautiful rhythmic whisper. Her voice is soothing and percussive at the same time.
Prince, “Darling Nikki”
I remember wondering about Nikki “not feeling well” when I first heard this as a kid—and then I realized as an adult it’s about SEXXXXXXX. I love the record and Prince’s seductive delivery.
James Brown, “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag”
Feeling overwhelmed? Dance in your underwear to this song. Problem solved!
Jazmine Sullivan, “Lions, Tigers & Bears”
This song is so clever and the vocal performance is unmatched! Jazmine is R&B royalty to me.
This is a Beyoncé B-side to the world, but it is such a great song of human struggle with jealousy. The bridge is so simple, but takes the song into a different direction and the song becomes about being insecure.
Stevie Wonder, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)”
This the classic for every celebratory moment in my existence.
This song was my introduction to my hero Pharrell. He was like “we are punk, hip-hop, and rock all at once.” It was unapologetic and I watched TRL because I wanted to be like him in this video, riding the bike with the homies.”
Tyler, the Creator, “911 / Mr. Lonely”
The Frank and Tyler combo forever!
Daniel Caesar, “We Find Love”
Sabrina Claudio, “Confidently Lost”
Her voice is sexy, she is bae. I love the cadence in her falsetto—it’s seductive but angelic at the same time. Weird eh?
The Clark Sisters, “You Brought the Sunshine”
First song these ears ever heard. I learned how to sing and do every riff in the back of my parents’ car.
Lauryn Hill, “Ex-Factor”
Best song about false expectations towards an ex. Why didn’t they? Why don’t they still care? Also: Lauryn is the GOAT.
Frank Ocean, “Bad Religion”
Frank’s Channel Orange is the closest thing we have gotten to full body of work like The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. “Bad Religion” is layered with so much heaviness. Each line could mean four things to the listener.
Chris Stapleton, “I Was Wrong”
I challenge any contemporary R&B singer to sing as good Chris Stapleton. They can’t! Soul is blind to color—this is country, but soooo soulful. His runs are straight-up from the school of Aretha.
OutKast, “Rosa Parks”
First OutKast song I ever heard. I wanted to learn all the words to it, and I would sneak and watch TRL and write down the words so I could impress my friends at school.
Kamasi Washington, “Henrietta Our Hero”
This song is heavenly.
Aaliyah, “At Your Best (You Are Love)”
This song is so pure and beautiful. I love Aaliyah—this is her best song in my opinion. It lives on and still sounds so fresh and relevant.
Missy Elliott, “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”
This video is everything! Missy is the ultimate hip-hop entertainer. This song introduced me to Timbaland’s production and I was hooked.
Kanye West, “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”
This is Kanye at his best, being honest. My favorite line is “and what I do/ act more stupidly.”
D’Angelo, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”
Sexxxxy time song.