For the Better - EP
There’s little mystery to why Aqyila’s 2021 single “Vibe for Me” became a viral sensation. Beyond her appealing honeyed vocals and the breezy, acoustic-tinged beats, the track was an intimate exchange that nonetheless had an inclusive intent, as the Toronto-based singer name-checks various hairdos—“It’s the bob for me/It’s your hijab for me/And it’s the ’fro for me”—to celebrate beauty in all shapes, sizes, and cultures. The song reappears on Aqyila’s debut EP, For the Better, a six-song serving of self-help R&B that uses personal details to frame relatable narratives. The romantic headaches chronicled on “OH!” are prefaced by a trip to “7-Eleven for Excedrin”; on the dramatic ballad “Hello,” she charts the therapeutic process of translating pain into song by confidently declaring, “I speak my words, but with a pen,” yielding a ready-made mantra for introverted diarists everywhere. But Aqyila delivers her most resonant statement of purpose with “We Keep On,” a shot of piano-gilded neo-soul showcasing a fiery flow that unlocks all the dysfunctional-relationship angst simmering below the smooth surface.