The track pops out of the headphones from the start, with a clean guitar riff, faint whispers and an infectious Roland synth rhythm. Pushing from the starting block like a sprinter gunning toward full speed, that beat on the new “Reasons” is quickly chased down by vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and producer GDNA.
His hooks, verses, spare, essential guitar and keyboard lines and lyrics about undying devotion drive “Reasons,” premiered here by the Times with a free download. It was produced in collaboration with Jo Def, one of a gaggle of the hot beatmakers and lyricists working under the banner Soulection and drawing crowds at its sellout club night the Sound of Tomorrow at the Regent in downtown Los Angeles.
You can hear that future sound in every measure of “Reasons,” taken from GDNA’s forthcoming EP, to be released in the early spring, called “Quandrants.” Born Yared Gudina Yonas (GDNA is short for Gudina) in the Inland Empire to Ethiopian émigré parents, the multi-instrumentalist has a sound that transcends genre, mixing contemporary R&B, funk, Chicago juke and deep West African rhythms. Last year GDNA told KCRW-FM’s Anthony Valadez that one of his biggest influences growing up was Senegalese superstar Youssou N’Dour, and though that sound may be in the DNA somewhere, “Reasons” is nothing if not of the moment.
And FYI, the latest installment of the Sound of Tomorrow is Saturday with sets by J-Louis, Chris McClenney and specials guests, along with DJ sets from Soulection residents Joe Kay, Andres and Andre Power.
Looking for music tips? Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit