Off the Charts Pick of the Week: Bobby Oroza’s “This Love”

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With the release of his first studio album, This Love, Bobby Oroza has put himself and his beautifully unique sound out for the world to enjoy. With this new release, Bobby provides a refreshing twist to soul music, and This Love delivers an inspiring peep into what should become a strong and extensive career.

As a young Finnish-Bolivian artist, Bobby Oroza is a fresh face in the underground music scene. Growing up in Helsinki, Oroza was surrounded by a family of musicians and developed his musical abilities while listening to tunes sung by his mother and strummed by his father.

Throughout his teenage years, Oroza developed a wide skill set—  teaching himself to sing and play the guitar and drums. An early influence of Latin and Cuban ballads coupled with his interest in jazz and blues brought Bobby to the musical style he channels today.

Bobby Oroza’s sound is often rightfully pinned as soul. However, Bobby’s multinational, multi-genre influences are what make him stand out from other artists. With a breadth of elements from rock and funk to R&B and jazz, Oroza’s sound is curated with care toward resonating with listeners of all musical preferences.  

As a new player in the game, Oroza’s discography is not extensive, and This Love stands as his only album to date. The rookie project comes through Big Crown Records, a Brooklyn based label filled with bright underground artists with an expansive range of genres. The album has been expected since Bobby released the track “This Love” back in early 2018, which performed unexpectedly well among soul fans in Scandinavia and beyond.

Recorded in Helsinki’s Timmion Records studio, This Love comes as a masterpiece from Bobby Oroza and his background cast of drummer Jukka Sarapää, bassist Sami Kantelinen, and guitarist Seppo Salmi. That same trio of musical support helped bring fellow Finnish funk and soul artist Nicole Willis to fame in the mid-2000s. On May 3, 2019, Big Crown Records and Bobby Oroza released the tastefully put together This Love project as a 12-song, 49-minute debut.

The most obvious theme of this album is its name. Bobby does an extraordinary job at creating ballads with love embedded in all the song’s elements. “Should I Take You Home” is one of my favorite tunes of the project because it specifically incorporates the mystifying feeling of young romance into the lyrics, drums, and synth harmonies. The adulated 6-minute track “This Love” is likable for the same reason— Bobby displays his ability to pull heartstrings through distant vocals and romantic accompaniment.

In addition to those leisurely, arguably sappy ballads, Oroza experiments by mixing his romantic tendencies with energetic songs for This Love. “Your Love is Too Cold” picks up the tempo from the intro track and features hard-hitting drums, jazzy guitar riffs, and catchy vocal repetition. “Falling in Love” comes later in the album and stands as the most upbeat love track of the album with its exciting, choppy guitar melody and one of Bobby’s top vocal performances.

While Bobby’s role as singer and lyricist are central to This Love, the aspect that really brings the project together is its instrumentation. Some of my favorite tracks are “Keep on Believing” and “Lonely Girl,” which highlight jazzy percussion and strummed melodies. “Lonely Girl” is an incredibly captivating song, propped up by a beautiful, catchy vocal call-and-response and chaperoned by active drums and a funky guitar tune.

All across the board, Bobby Oroza has put himself and his music in a promising position.  With his ability to gracefully dance on the line between genres, Bobby is giving the people exactly what they want— This Love being the prime example of that. This debut album should serve as a wake-up call to fans worldwide, and with more releases at this high standard, Oroza will have his name heard soon enough.

-Andrew Edds

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