After releasing cover songs for the past four years on Soundcloud, artist DMEANOR has finally unleashed his brand of smooth R&B to the masses with debut track “Don’t Hold Me.”

Featuring one of Korean hip-hop’s most sought-after (and talked-about) rappers, the outspoken and oftentimes polarizing Swings, “Don’t Hold Me” proves itself a well-composed debut track. Enlisting a high-profile rapper for one’s first single is not only a smart move. It solidifies DMEANOR’s clout as an artist to watch, an artist who’s established himself as someone the industry should be — and has been — watching.


The music is easy, simple in a way that’s palatable to a wide audience. That shouldn’t suggest there isn’t a level of complexity to the song’s composition. Co-produced by DMEANOR himself and Nuplay (the collective behind DAY6‘s “Sing Me”), “Don’t Hold Me” relies heavily on contemporary R&B motifs — most notably thick bass synth that wraps itself around sparse beats and a soothing melody. It’s the type of song that allows listeners to settle into the groove rather than forcing them to react to an aggressive rhythm.

“Don’t Hold Me” houses a thread of classic dance/R&B in its musical confines, bringing to mind tracks like “I Can’t Wait” from new-wave R&B twelvepiece Nu Shooz or the bare-bones “Dammn, Baby” by Janet Jackson. There’s something audibly reminiscent about the music. It easily appeals to a younger audience always on the hunt for the next smooth summer groove, as well as seasoned music listeners who remember a simpler time.

The statement in “Don’t Hold Me” is certainly an audacious one, not only demanding attention from the audience, but also acting as a command to remove whatever chains have seemingly held DMEANOR back from being his true self. No more, the song proclaims. He’s let go of any of his hesitancy, any of his fear about confronting this industry — this life — head-on.


The MV expresses this freedom, this ebullience with life. “Don’t Hold Me” may seem a challenge to those listening in; however, the video is a full-out celebration of life. With choreography from Joesar Alva (a dancer and teacher for the KINJAZ Dojo, as well as lead choreographer for tours from Ariana Grande and Jason Derulo), the track’s easy melody has a natural bob and sway, a rhythm perfect for both basking in the summer sun and getting close to someone special.

In and of itself, the video doesn’t adhere to a particular story line. Following DMEANOR and the troupe of dancers and supposed friends (from all walks of life) as they recite the lyrics, huge smiles on their faces and an uncontrollable urge to dance down the street. Though a bit cheesy-pie for my taste (put-on smiles and a forced need to make life a musical, something not out of place on an episode of “Kids Incorporated”) one can’t fault the MV for its positivity.


“Don’t Hold Me” is certainly a gallant first effort, if not 100 percent original or overflowing with emotional and intellectual depth. It’s the type of track that will get audiences excited about what’s on the horizon for the talented vocalist. With shades of contemporaries G.Soul and (for better or worse) Chris Brown during his own debut era, DMEANOR has set himself up as the next voice to anticipate in 2017.

Please take some time to get to know this R&B artist on the rise by visiting his social media accounts below:




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