South-East London artist Summer Banton is back on the scene, and she’s bringing the nostalgic vibes we’ve all been craving. Her newest single, “Be My Guest,” which dropped last month, is a spellbinding blend of modern R&B with an irresistible touch of the late ’90s and early 2000s flair.
Think Alicia Keys meets Lauryn Hill, but with a twist that’s uniquely Summer’s own. Coupled with glossy keys and rhythmically magnetic beats, the self-written anthem sets the stage as a testament to female empowerment and magnetic allure. From iconic outfits to sleek choreography, the accompanying visuals are designed to evoke both nostalgia and the sense of exciting newness that marks the musician’s return.
Regarding the song, Summer shared, “It combines all of the elements of the iconic ’90s and ’00s R&B I grew up on. From the production to the classic R&B chords and the stacked vocals. Ten-year-old me would be so proud and excited of the song.”
Below, we spoke to the up-and-coming singer about her love for music, what inspired her, and how she finds empowerment, among other topics.
For those unfamiliar with you, how did you find your love for music?
I’ve been singing since I was six. I literally love singing! I grew up listening to a lot of Alicia Keys and Beyoncé which really inspired me from a young age. I also had musical influences in my family. My uncle being a reggae artist really triggered my creativity and fascination with making music at a young age.
I have early memories of being in the studio with him at about six or seven years old. When I was 15, I started writing my own songs and the rest was history!
Do you have key musical inspirations, but also people that have inspired you in your personal life?
My main inspirations were Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, and Mariah Carey growing up.
Your new track, “Be My Guest,” is the only your second single this year. What is the message behind it? What do you want people to feel when they listen to it?
“Be My Guest” is all about removing what’s not for you in life. Whether it’s friendships or relationships. I want people to feel empowered and independent when they listen. It’s also a very nostalgic 90’s vibe, so I hope it takes people back too!
I remember first stumbling upon your music with 2020’s “Pretty Face,” and the following year, you went on a bit of a hiatus — how did your music evolve in the year-long pause between “Being Nice” and “Miss Me”?
I think in terms of song concepts, I’ve grown and matured during the year out, so now I have even more to write about. I also feel more sure in my sound moving forward and subconsciously developed a love for the nostalgic R&B I grew up on and weaving this into my music.
This new record is a lot different from what listeners have heard from you in the past. What inspired you to take your music in a new direction?
I’ve always loved 90’s R&B and I literally just went into a session one day and was telling my producer I wanna do something that sounds like it could be in “That’s So Raven” on Disney Channel mixed with a Destiny’s Child type vibe, and somehow we arrived at “Be My Guest.”
What do you do on those days when you aren’t feeling so confident? How do you empower yourself?
Usually listen to some of my favorite music. something that allows me to channel my inner superstar.
Finally, what is the rest of 2023 looking like for you? What are you working on next?
More new music! I took a whole year out, so I have so much music I can’t wait to share and hopefully some live performances, too!