California’s newest songstress, Anika, offers a much needed romantic escape in her single, “Are You Down”. Effortlessly cool and shining with sultry rhythms, Anika’s dreamy vocals and the R&B-fused delicate measures, gives both the heart and mind a desired effect. “Are You Down” is a beautiful display by an artist that gives new meaning to getting lost in the song’s mood. Anika slows down the pace, but not so slow that we aren’t reminded of the tantalizing heart and the pining we have for those we love and cherish the most. 


Anika’s voice has moments of velvet-crushed layering, as though she’s filling the air with both pillows and feathers. During other moments, it’s as if she’s slick and sharp as a woman that takes no pain or grief from anyone. I suppose she has the makings of a Pat Benatar or even Cher. There is a spice to her voice, a rousing renegade-like rebelliousness running through the center. Still, the tones and the vibe of “Are You Down” are relaxed and sensual. She’s in complete control and while the backing piano and brushing percussion give way to a jazz-like atmosphere, she’s holding steady with a voice that seems to dance off into the night. Anika finds a way to be the focal point of the song and gives special affection to the backing music all the same. 

The rhythm of this song is right into the R&B realm but I’m also feeling a strong pop vibe. Maybe it’s because the adult contemporary world is spattered with everything Adele these days and it seems to be in fashion. The truth is, a great song is always in style. Anika proves that with “Are You Down”. Younger audiences might be waiting for an official remix (which would be awesome, by the way), but this song is honest and discerning enough to be just as it is. I like that it’s both vintage and new sounding. It has depth and Anika’s flavors dabble fearlessly into heart territory. You feel something listening to her voice – she takes you to a memory or a place in your heart that you want to revisit. You also feel a sense of vulnerability in her voice that gives you chills. If it was not for her humble voice and the way she presents her voice, this song might be much more pop and mainstream. As it is, this song transverses age and culture. You know there is a strong woman and a confident artist singing. She might be revealing an unseen layer to her heart but it is in that process that she showcases just how brave she is. 

I’m in awe of Anika’s voice and the way “Are You Down” took me to such a relaxing state-of-mind. I’m replenished. “Are You Down” sounds like a silent whisper that builds up steam and soon becomes an anthem or a rallying cry. Anika sings what we only can hope to share with someone that we want to be more than friends with – she brings it home in the remarkable “Are You Down.”

Garth Thomas