On this album he dives deep into the topic of love to understand how it feels at it’s different stages, including when it has faded away. Based on the emotions of discussions that he held with close friends, trying to understand their perspectives on love, Stones to Diamonds is an emotional, introspective journey filled with music that calms, inspires, motivates, and celebrates the beauty and complexity of life and love.
Kholi’s soothing voice earnestly soars over swelling strings and a jauntily plucked guitar on One, the album’s opener. From the opening minute, he has no fear in sharing how he feels towards the object of affection. He captures the heady rush of new love where promises easily flow from our lips without worry.
Yet the next song, DLM, shows him pleading for his partner not to leave him as subtle sax riffs dance in the background. It’s this ability to authentically capture the feelings that many of us can relate to that makes this album such a rewarding listen for his audience. Whether he’s singing about lust sparked by a beautiful woman in his presence on Body Language, convincing someone to give him a chance at love on Gamble, or inviting his lover to get away with him on Go, every song is written with the care and attention of someone that has taken time to understand how we react to the many situations that love can bring about.
Stones to Diamonds is a sonically cohesive experience despite its inspirations coming from a varied range of sources. Inspiration from artists like Wizkid, Burna Boy, Maroon 5, Drake, and multifaceted producer Gospelondebeatz led Kholi to a sound that invokes afro-pop, jazz, bachata, and RnB. Throughout the course of the album, these genres intertwine seamlessly to create something brand new, a romantic backdrop for Kholi to examine the many aspects of love. The sumptuous tones of his voice never feel in competition with the variety of instruments and musical elements. Songs like Euphoria and the simmering Te Amo allow his voice to showcase it’s range and honesty over instrumentation that feels familiar but also new.
Love is a difficult game and can leave us feeling worthless at times, like stones scattered on the ground. Kholi understands that every situation in life is temporary and he captures both the good and bad. It’s through these difficult times that we can build the strength to let our lights shine like diamonds. In every aspect of life there is a stone phase and a diamond phase but in love and life in general, when we can persevere through the stage of the stone, we can emerge as diamonds.