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Muni Long: Reviving R&B With Authenticity And Innovation

 

Objectively, Muni Long’s impact on the genre of R&B is indelible. Her influence is undeniable whether you find yourself humming the melodic harmonies of her hit singles like Hrs & Hrs or, most recently, Made For Me. The Florida native’s artistry is so expansive that you’ve likely experienced her musicality on the back end of several of your favorite tracks due to her extensive songwriting capabilities. No matter how you’ve become acquainted with the Grammy award-winning artist, it’s safe to say that she’s played an instrumental part in reviving R&B with top-tier craftsmanship displayed in her work. The singer’s latest single, Made For Me, proves as such, with its viral success across multiple social media platforms and 33 million views on its music video via YouTube. For Long, its success indicates a new personal era she’s entered where she’s focused on creating for herself.

“I just have this freedom since I've entered this space of creating for myself only. I'm just saying what's on my heart and who I am at my core is love and connection. I believe in romance and fairy tales, and we need a little bit of that these days. There's a lot of stuff going on in the world. The world is rough right now, so if I can offer a little levity by just giving love and giving people something to sing to, I'm very grateful to be able to do that.”

While the song has garnered overwhelming success, barriers have emerged that have impacted its reach, most notably the removal of all songs by artists affiliated with Universal Music Group on TikTok. Despite the ban, the hit song has reached viral success on the platform in many variations, something Long attributes to the connection between listeners and songs that resonate with them.

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“I’ve had some challenges as of late. As the song was just there, it seemed like it was just about to explode into a different market. And then the removal just happened without warning; I didn't know what was happening. I heard about it at the same time as everyone else did, but I think it's just a true testament that when you make something really good that people resonate with, they will find it and incorporate it into whatever they're doing. I think people had already latched on and locked into the song before that happened, so when you get a taste of something good, you’re going to do what you have to do. There are some pitfalls to it because you are trying to monetize that, and you have to think about how you do it when, technically, the song does not exist in that TikTok world. The money that I would've lost out on is money I would've spent if I didn't have those people self-promoting it without me. I didn't ask a single soul to do that. They just did it on their own. I think it's a blessing because everything happens exactly how it's supposed to. I've learned not to question those things.”

Aside from her apparent gifts of singing and songwriting, Long has also mastered the concept of marketing. While she is no stranger to colossal success, whether on the Billboard charts or in the digital realm, the songwriter’s knack for creating musical greatness is accompanied by her extensive research into optimizing her social media platforms.

“It's not calculated. It's more so just being in touch with the tone of what's happening right now, being tapped into the zeitgeist, and just understanding reading comments and watching content. I say all the time that you cannot give me critiques on how I'm operating in my social media space if you don't use the platform. You have to understand the platform's language and how people are ingesting and consuming. I do a lot of research, and I'm in the field. I'm paying attention to what people are listening to, the hot new artists, what clothes they're wearing, the nail trends, the hair trends, all of that stuff is just this amalgamation of culture you want to be on the precipice of.”

 

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As Long continues to usher in a new and innovative wave of R&B while paying homage to its roots, the musical phenomenon is excited about the release of her upcoming album, which was recently completed.

“I just finished my album, and I have a title that I won't share yet, but it's definitely some straight up and down, good, solid R&B pop music executive produced by Tricky Stewart. It has 13 records, and one of them, which you've already heard, Made For Me, will be on there for sure. Sonically, it's incredible. I've got some up-tempos, ballads, pop, introspective, artsy themes, and more.”

Long hopes that this project will inspire fellow artists and help her solidify her legacy as a disruptor in the R&B space.

“The goal in the plan is to start solidifying myself in this space in the pure, solid R&B space. I want to own that lane because it's a good space. I believe that R&B is pop. I know a lot of times artists, once they get success in their niche, want to transition over into a wider market. But I'm perfectly fine staying right where I'm at and having people gravitate towards what I'm doing. And in the grand scheme of things, hopefully, it doesn't fit with anything out there because I want to have carved out that ownership. I want to shake things up and be a disruptor. But for me, I think as an individual artist, this project is going to set the tone for like, ‘Okay. Here's the bar. Here's where we need to be aiming towards.’ I hope to inspire new artists, people who are aspiring, and my peers who might already be working on things.”

 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kennethjwilliamsjr/2024/04/30/muni-long-reviving-rb-with-authenticity-and-innovation/?sh=4ee7a2164f1e

 

 

Credits:

Talent: Muni Long

Styled by: Kris Fe

Photographed by: Tony Bowen

 

May 29, 2024 — Victoria Velandia

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