May 25, 2020 in Album Reviews, Music by

Making a Bold and Blonde Self Declaration, Archie Presents EP, ‘613’

Cover photo by Kalina Cimone.

After taking some time for self-reflection, an artist previously known as PSA has reemerged as Archie, presenting a 4-track EP entitled 613.

The numerically named-project presents as a fine, 4-act Broadway play. With engaging elegance, Archie walks us through each scene, using her voice as her primary prop. Let’s get into the plot.

| ACT ONE |

The thick red curtains part, and our protagonist saunters onstage while the piano plays an animated tune. She sings out and her voice floats from the stage, capturing the crowd in sweet reverie.

“Close the gates, close the curtains. I can’t go on when my soul is hurtin’. Sitting here, staring at the mirror, eyes start to focus, but things ain’t getting clearer…”

The monologue is so personal, we almost feel as if we’re intruding, but we’re not. Archie is propping the door open for us and revealing her innermost thoughts. This is “Clarity,” the introduction track which sets the tone for Archie’s 613, an honest and heartwarming production.

| ACT TWO |

The stage lights dim for Act Two, “Machete (Song for Jackson).” It is a love song of sorts, with Archie speaking candidly, perhaps to a lover.

“This is me, this is really me. Call it like you feel it, baby tell me what you see.”

She starts out with a seemingly shallow request before diving deep, admitting a fear and uncertainty for the long run. Her words pour out in a dismayed drawl, but the message is as sharp as the machete she compares her heart to.

Once we are tuned in to the tempo, it turns. The sedated soundscape switches up, emerging chopped and screwed, as if it were passed through a food processor. Uncertainty is replaced with newly gained confidence. Archie is comfortable in her own skin.

And we couldn’t be happier for her.

| ACT THREE |

No intermission is needed before “Bad Bitch,” though it is a clear turning point in the production.

A plush pink carpet rolls out across the stage and poppy production gives way for Archie’s light vocals. She sings about the embodiment of a “Bad Bitch,” and the steps it took for her to finally embrace it.

To Archie, her possession of this power is a new knowledge, but perhaps not in the sense that you would think. In this sense, a “Bad Bitch” is a strong, independent, goal oriented person. And what a joy it is to realize that you’ve been one all along.

Appearing as the sole supporting cast member in 613, DoNormaal enters stage right, shortly after scene two of Act Three. She offers up cheerful cosigns for Archie’s proud affirmations. Her short and sweet verse presents her as a cynical, yet experienced liver of life, happy to share this new knowledge and justified joy.

| ACT FOUR |

“Summation” is literally just that- a bright and cheerful summary of all we’ve been honored to view. Archie acknowledges the bumps and bruises that she has acquired along the way, pointing out that the bull shit will fade away.

The show must go on.

| END |

613 is a glow up that you can see and hear. And the glow is much brighter than the platinum blonde locks that Archie rocks on the cover.

“613 is the blonde hair color I wear on the EP cover,” she explained. “I avoided it for a long time because I thought it looked funny on me, or quite frankly, I thought it might give people the idea that I wasn’t proud of being black and native. I just like the color though! A major area of study for me in school was Pan-African Liberation Movements, so I have always felt conflicted about my love of wigs since my studies. It was a way to signify me stepping into myself and living how I like because I like it, and not worrying about people’s opinions on it. 613 is that declaration for me.”

“I am Archie. I have blonde hair sometimes. I like it. It’s ok if you don’t.”

This explanation from Archie deserves a standing ovation. From the moment that the curtains open, to the moment that they close, Archie is painfully transparent and true. The path to fully embracing oneself is not always pretty, yet she bravely takes us along for the ride. It’s like the backstory that makes your favorite character your favorite.

And regardless of the color or texture of the hair on her head, Archie is most definitely one of my favorites. Click here to hear her latest, including dreamy song, “I’m Yours,” press play below if you’re ready for our featured production, 613, and most importantly, ENJOY!

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