As his Instagram bio reads, Felix Ames makes “music for the soul.” With just a handful of singles out since 2022, including the successful Shoestring, which already amasses over two million streams on Spotify, the Milwaukee-born singer presents his debut album, JENA, today. Have a listen!
Even though he started releasing music early last year, Ames has always been passionate about it. As a kid, he grew up listening to his father’s records of Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo, and Bobby Caldwell, whose sounds and production influenced his current work. During the global pandemic in 2020, he taught himself music theory and recording. Since then, he’s been working on expressing himself musically, sonically, and lyrically. His honest approach to discussing themes about his personal life paired with his natural intuition imbue his songs with a relatable touch that has been conquering listeners’ hearts since he first released Shoestring, his first single.
Now, Felix is pleasing his broad audience with JENA, a soulful debut album that just exudes coolness and sensitivity through its twelve tracks. “Making this album was sort of like staring at myself in the mirror for two years until I saw my reflection clearer. This helped me to both understand my heart and accurately express my soul to the world,” the singer and self-taught producer says. “I’m always creating and trying to express myself to the highest degree,” he goes on. “I’m interested in curating people’s lives. Personally, I’m doing work to be the best person I can be. Then, I’m translating this work into my artistry and hopefully giving you a bigger world to live in.”
Blending genres like soul, R&B, jazz, and even some gospel, JENA is sure to become one of the most interesting albums released this year. Felix’s smooth voice works perfectly with the sound production, making it a very complete record. It starts with Always, I’ll Stay, where the singer shows the audience his vocal range. It gets you in a sweet mood from the get-go. This track is followed by Taxi Driver, which suddenly cheers you up with his soulful voice and rhythm. Other songs that have this feel-good vibe are 2million, 97 Nissan, Liquor Locker, and 7711.
However, there’s also space to cry in this album as it takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions through its twelve tracks. Irish Goodbye, which is probably the most different song in the record because of its electronic music influence and production, is the perfect track to listen to on a rainy, moody day, or when you’re feeling down. It’s the shortest song in JENA, but it goes straight to your heart. Speaking of which, it’s comforting to see upcoming artists who’re still making 3+ minute tracks despite the ‘tiktokisation’ of music lately.
Finishing with Half A Man, which goes heavy on the piano and jazz influences, Felix Ames’ debut album is a very well-rounded record that takes listeners on a highly sentimental journey. It’s as heart-warming as it heart-breaking. We started the article speaking of how the singer knows he makes music for the soul. With JENA, it’s more than clear that he knows what strings to pull to get to the innermost parts of our soul, indeed. “For me, the main goal of my music is to look in the mirror, and I’m inviting listeners to do the same,” he affirms. “By reflecting on my life, I’m getting the truest art out of myself. I’m on a quest to understand and make sense of the world. Maybe my music will help you make better sense of it too.”