Lisa Ramey revels in her “Black girl magic” on Vagabond, the New York vocalist’s latest triumphant single.
Lisa Ramey has taken aim at a particularly troublesome relationship on her blues-infused new single Vagabond. Opening with a spoken-word verse pointed squarely at a man who “ain’t right,” the track makes use of country guitar melodies and guttural vocal ad libs, as if Ramey is reciting the lyrics in front of a crowd during a rap battle.
Blending a folksy flair with elements of soul, Vagabond coasts on twangy strings seemingly pulled from a spaghetti Western film, with Ramey’s rich timbre bringing a grittier edge.
While this country-soul feel remains a throughline for much of the track, Ramey also enlists a smattering of more diverse sounds, from electronic percussion to the groovy feel of brass instrument sections.
The trumpet tones add further texture to the production, but it’s Ramey’s captivating vocals that remain the major drawcard. Eliciting the powerhouse quality of her peers from Lizzo to Amy Winehouse, Ramey commands the microphone from the outset, with the 60s feel of the soundscape merely adding extra regality to her delivery.
There’s a communal feel to Vagabond, with the surrounding male vocal grunts giving the impression that you’re watching her in the midst of a public call-out.
That element is crucial, since Ramey sings of a man whose mistreatment warrants criticism from onlookers. Here, the musician openly dresses down a suitor who is “out there for the streets” and “make[s] me feel crazy.”
So evocative is Ramey’s storytelling that you can clearly picture the subject she describes, all while reclaiming her own sense of self in the face of his misdeeds. “I’m a baddie,” she declares triumphantly in the song’s final moments, “[He] want all the Black girl magic.”
“I’ve dated guys who seemed to be wandering around aimlessly through a dessert without a destination,” Ramey explained in a press statement. “They’d suck all my energy out just to head back to the desert to continue wandering from woman to woman.”
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Delivering a message of self-worth and infectious braggadocio, Vagabond is the kind of track you might spin after dumping a toxic f-boy.
Such mastery of her vocals and sonic direction is perhaps to be expected from Ramey, given her years-long presence in the industry following a successful run on The Voice USA.
Since then, the New York-based artists has performed alongside Mrs. Lauryn Hill, and released her 2020 debut album Surrender. She has also shared the 2023 singles Body and My Creator, as well releasing the album Broken Smile earlier this year.
Listen to Lisa Ramey’s new single Vagabond below.