Last March the first collaboration between India Shawn and James Fauntleroy hit the internet, and you couldn’t ask for much more out of a debut track: “Floating Away” mixed classic soul instrumentation — strings, warm bass — with a slightly askew beat and a ’90s R&B vocal from Shawn. The two artists traded verses and collaborated on delicate harmonies.
Fauntleroy is known for his experimental R&B and his songwriting credits with Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Drake, and others. Shawn calls him “one of the greatest writers in the entire world,” but she’s got an impressive resume as well. The Atlanta-based artist landed a song on Solange‘s Saint Heron compilation, and she has worked with Chris Brown and Keri Hilson. Shawn’s Soundcloud page also demonstrates her ambition — she’s unafraid to cover R&B giants like Stevie Wonder and Beyoncé.
The two singer-songwriters are teaming up on an upcoming collaborative EP, Outer Limits, slated for a March release. Below, check out the first single, of the same name, premiered here on The Juice.
“Outer Limits” employs many of the same tools as “Floating Away:” pretty vocal interplay and a groove that’s firm but not pushy. Underneath a strummed guitar and slick beat, there’s bass channelling the popping vigor of ’80s funk.
Shawn tells Billboard that, “‘Outer Limits’ was the first song we created for this [EP]… I went straight to the studio from LAX, and James asked where I wanted to go with the project. My immediate response was, ‘The outer limits!’ He was like, ‘You sure about that?’ And no more than 20 minutes later he was free-styling what would be the title track to our project.” Shawn suggests that all the songs developed this way — “we just let it happen organically.”
You can preorder the Outer Limits EP here. Shawn also wrote a note thanking her fans and describing her mission for Outer Limits. Read below.