Yebba Smith’s gospel roots bleed through her single “Evergreen,” a slow-burning ballad full of mettle and longing. It’s over a year old now, but very worth revisiting — especially as Smith gets ready to contend at the 2019 Grammy Awards for another song, her PJ Morton collaboration “How Deep Is Your Love,” which is up for Best Traditional R&B Performance.
Above a steady bass line, Smith’s voice nimbly covers the full range of her voice. As the song opens up to a romantic chorus where she hopes that her “evergreen” in question will wait for her, so does an enthusiastic chorus of voices that make the song sound like a final prayer for a lost cause. It’s a mesmerizing piece of music that went criminally neglected upon its release; listening to it now, the song raises the possibility that she’ll be this generation’s next great soul singer.
Besides the Grammy nomination, the Brooklyn-based, Arkansas-born singer also teamed up with Sam Smith on his most recent album The Thrill of It All. Though she hasn’t confirmed dates for either, she has teased an album and tour for this year.