Smooth R&B artist Erika de Casier was born in Portugal with a Belgian mother and Cape Verdean father. She’s now based in Copenhagen, Denmark, starting her career working in a kindergarten. She spent time in the duo Saint Cava – they never released a full-length album but played the Roskilde Festival. de Casier struck out solo with the 2017 single ‘What U Wanna Do?’, leading to her presumptuously titled debut album Essentials.
Erika de Casier’s music isn’t something that I would have expected to enjoy – her music is breezy, accompanied by whispered vocals and gently humorous lyrics. But her two records to date are consistently enjoyable.
Erika de Casier Album Reviews
Copenhagen producer and vocalist Erika de Casier released her debut album Essentials in 2019. It’s a collection of mellow tracks that often sound like throwbacks to around the turn of the 21st century, recalling acts like Aaliyah and Janet Jackson. Chill R&B is a good description – de Casier’s gentle voice rides nicely over the smooth music. There’s also some trip-hop in the mix, while the single ‘Do My Thing’ features a 1990s G-funk flavour.
Clearly, a Marxist diatribe wouldn’t have suited the mellow arrangements, and de Casier has her moments of lyrical insight – one common motif is putting the phone down, surely good advice for this era.
The best parts of Essentials are the lovely arrangements – moments like the busy bass-line under the smooth ‘Puppy Love’ and the tinkling synths of ‘Intimate’. ‘Do My Thing’ is more energetic and immediate than most of Essentials, although the smooth groove of ‘Rainy’ makes for my favourite track.
Essentials is well outside my comfort zone, but the mellow grooves and unassuming vocals are often gorgeous.
Erika de Casier’s sophomore album was partly constructed for an assignment for her Master’s degree at Rhythm Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. It’s often similar to her successful debut album Essentials, but she’s more confident.
Erika de Casier is far from my usual listening sphere but it’s a perfect marriage of music to vocals. De Casier’s whispered style, which she developed so she could record in her room at night without disturbing her flatmates, fits in beautifully with her gentle music. What initially sounds impossibly light is more interesting than it appears on the surface. De Casier is often wryly funny, gently teasing clichés on ‘Busy’ (“Reach for the stars that’s what I did/I didn’t know I’d get so busy”) and regurgitating bad pick-up-lines on ‘Make My Day’. She’s not always frivolous – ‘Friendly’ is downright sexy.
Musically she sticks to her gentle late-1990s electronica – there are hints of G-Funk and 1990s R&B like Aaliyah and Janet Jackson. The approach works beautifully for de Casier, even though it feels like she’s lacking in stylistic range and will need to stake out some new territory at some point. The minor key ‘No Butterflies, No Nothing’ is a nice changeup, adding a hint of darkness to her usually charming and lightweight sounds.
Sensational is sometimes stylistically limited, but it’s hard to imagine de Casier making a better album in this vein.
Best Erika de Casier Songs
No Butterflies, No Nothing
Do My Thing