radiant children will make a bad day good

Meet the transatlantic trio making smooth, soulful R&B that will warm your soul and make everything feel better.

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Aug 31 2018, 12:44pm

Getting weak at the knees is normally what happens when you have a crush or see the golden McD’s arches in the distance, but for Fabienne Holloway, one third of soulful, R&B trio Radiant Children, it was the reason she started singing. “I was training to be a ballet dancer when I was a kid,” Fabienne continues. “But when I was 13 I was told my knees were too weak, so my dance teacher told me I should do something with my voice instead. I took her advice, and fully immersed myself in music and my parents' record collection.” She’s been singing ever since. Tyler Acord, another of the trio, has also been into music from day dot -- his mum was a singer and his dad was a sound guy. “I was in a ton of bands, started DJing, then producing, then writing. I've been into everything from R&B to metal.” Then there’s Marco Bernardis, whose mum played great music in the car, and forced him to write songs because he hated playing piano.

The three-part band met through a series of overlaps -- Marco and Fabienne played in a wedding covers band once. Marco met Ty at a studio session, then introduced him to Fabienne. The transatlantic trio (Marco’s from Surrey, Fabienne grew up in the west Midlands, Tyler in Washington State in the US) started writing together for a bit of fun, until they realised it was actually quite good and they should keep doing it. Three years later and they’ve released their first EP, TRYIN’.

"Listen to it when you’re feeling sad; hop on a bus on a sunny day and drift around the city knowing that everything will be good and sweet and fine."

It’s bit of jazz, a bit of soul, a bit of The Internet. Tyler says that their music’s “some kind of combination of nostalgia and forward-thinking exploration”. Fabienne describes it as “warm and fuzzy”. Take the opener, Go Left. It’s a euphoric celebration of sticking it to the man and doing your own thing. It feels a bit like a musical theatre number, except cooler. It has beats that need a swing dance, a chanty chorus topped-off with a sweep of cinematic strings befitting of a hopelessly romantic happy ending. Tryin’ is smooth, sultry R&B verses that burst into a chorus about trying, trying, so hard, so hard, so damn hard. Life’s a Bitch has a fun funk bassline and a few la la las, which feels like a sort of joyous acceptance that sometimes shit sucks. 48th & 9th isn’t really a song, more some mellow jazz and atmospheric sidewalk background noise. Poke Bowl is about yearning for someone to come back, and though it opens with the line, “It ain't easy being breezy,” desperate longing has never sounded so chill. It’s a strong EP. Listen to it when you’re feeling sad; hop on a bus on a sunny day and drift around the city knowing that everything will be good and sweet and fine.

Fabienne’s voice helps the feeling -- it’s warm, deep, full. It’s all tied up with Tyler’s seamless production and Marco’s skill on the instruments, but they’re not tetris blocks that fit together neatly. Tracks unfold organically. “The less rules, the fresher our ideas turnout,” Tyler says. “Songs can start from Fabienne's notebook, Marco jamming out on the piano, a beat I've started, or a million other ways. Everyone participates in every element of it.”

So how do they want their music to make people feel? Tyler doesn’t mind, as long as it’s something, as long as it’s not flat. Marco wants you to feel rewarded, fulfilled. And Fabienne wants it to make you feel like flowers.