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Kelela Returns With First New Song in Five Years, ‘Washed Away’

Outside a 2018 remix EP, the R&B singer hasn’t shared any new music since her 2017 debut album, Take Me Apart

Five years after the release of her debut album, Take Me Apart, Kelela is finally back with new music.

On Tuesday, the R&B singer shared a mesmerizing new song, “Washed Away,” that pairs her serene vocals with an ethereal stream of synths from producer Yo van Lenz. The song also arrives with a music video, directed by Yasser Abubeker, that captures Kelela against the stunning backdrop of the Danakil Depression, situated in the northern part of Ethiopia’s Afar region.

In a statement, Kelela said of “Washed Away, “I love a banger, but for the first point of contact out of my hiatus, it felt more honest to lead with an ambient heart-check.” She added, “I specifically want to speak to marginalized Black folk and highlight the work we do to find renewal in a world that’s built to make us feel inadequate. This song is the soundtrack to the relief we find after going inward.”

“Washed Away” is Kelela’s first bit of totally new music since Take Me Apart arrived back in 2017 and her first release of any kind since she dropped the complementary Take Me a_Part, the Remixes EP in 2018. In the lead-up to the song’s arrival, Kelela had a bit of fun with her prolonged absence, sharing a handful of Instagram posts raising questions about her whereabouts, including one that paired an array of social media posts from fans with the Law & Order theme music. 

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