While D’Angelo fans wait for his next release, we have a new alternative to help us pass the time: Diggs Duke. The upstart Southwest D.C. musician’s infectious new song, “Secrets Seem Rehearsed,” sounds a lot like the neo-soul icon circa 2000. It’s the nimble closer of Duke’s forthcoming EP, The Upper Hand & Other Grand Illusions, out July 21 via Giles Peterson‘s Brownswood Recordings.
To release music through Peterson’s label is a pretty big deal; the world-renowned British tastemaker has a great ear for alt-jazz and esoteric soul. So how did Duke, a relative unknown originally from Gary, Ind., get his music all the way to Giles? “I was sending my music out, and I found out how to get in touch with him,” says Duke, 29. “I thought there was an opening for me at Brownswood. I just thought it was a good fit.”
Duke, born Jonathan Meacham, has dropped a litany of EPs and an exquisite LP on Bandcamp. He says his forthcoming EP is about intense love and dissecting the power struggles in romantic relationships: “You wanna give something to this person, but the relationship isn’t interesting. It still feels good to you, but the allure of surprise is lost.”
Listen to Duke’s groovy “Secrets Seem Rehearsed” after the jump.