The genre-blending tune — which fuses R&B, afrobeat and dancehall — was originally recorded as a demo intended for another artist.
“If I had to describe the writing on ‘City Girl,’ I’d have to say it’s a mini fusion of the music I grew up listening to (R&B, Gospel, Reggae), my childhood surroundings (London – which is a melting pot of cultures) and my (Nigerian) heritage blended together,” PenSmith said in a statement. “Throw that in a pot with all of Jonah’s influences, mix it all up for a few hours and you get a musical dish titled ‘City Girl.'”
Christian added, “’City Girl’ stemmed from a pitch session with myself, Ari, and George Moore. Ari and I had worked on a lot of the same artists & projects (Snoh Aalegra, Burna Boy, etc), but never had worked together directly. I was a huge fan of his work as both a writer and vocalist, so when we finally linked up, the creative chemistry was amazing and ‘City Girl’ came together organically and effortlessly.”
He continued, It’s inspired by our life experiences & the music we love. In my case, the production was informed by growing up in a Jamaican household listening to a lot of dancehall riddims. Ari and I are also heavy into Afrobeats & R&B, so ‘City Girl’ is this hybrid of all of these cultures and diasporas rolled into one idea. It’s a special record.”
The names Ari PenSmith and Jonah Christian may not sound familiar but their respective work is certainly known. PenSmith has collaborated with artists like Beyoncé, Chris Brown, Snoh Aalegra, Kaytranada and Doja Cat. Meanwhile, Christian has worked with Normani, Anderson .Paak, 6LACK, SiR and Nicki Minaj.
Listen to “City Girl” by Ari PenSmith and Jonah Christian below.