Fans of singers Shaneil Muir and Ikaya have been going at it this month over their vocal similarities.
It all started when Ikaya amplified the promotion for her song Insecure with Producer Ajal. The track promotes having a moral compass in the backdrop of a society that sees some women disregarding virtue for material things and digital attention.
Amid the Jada Kingdom-Stefflon Don lyrical clash, some netizens deemed it a dig at Kingdom, who was flown to Paris and Birkin bag-treated by Afrobeats star and Stefflon’s ex Burna Boy.
But others noticed something else: the closeness between Ikaya and Muir’s vocal style, tone, and cadence.
“I thought this was Shaneil Muir,” commented one person. “Love this song.”
“Ikaya was before Shaneil Muir but me have a big problem now becuz if me neva see dis video, me wuda strongly believe say a Shaneil Muir sing dis,” another echoed. “It’s a really gud song. Good message, very good Ikaya.”
“Check eeh stats; Ikaya always sound like this. Plus, she was around first.”
One user asked, “So every time them drop Ikaya, people a go ask if a Shaneil?”
“Jah kno they have the same cadence. Mi wuda love fi hear collab wid dem both n find fun in the challenge of differentiating them.”
The requests for a collaboration continued, but one netizen was doubtful due to the tension between their fan bases.
“Ppl dem pan d media done try turn dem against each other already bout who thief who fah flow/sound, so🤷🏽♀️. It up to dem stills.“
Given name Kadian Blair, Ikaya got her musical start doing background vocals for reggae’s resident ‘fireman’, Capleton. The gig paved the way for their Fire collaboration in 2001, produced by Kings of Kings on the Martial Arts rhythm. In short order, the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts graduate was opening up for Capleton on several shows worldwide.
The Kingstonian’s early records leaned towards a reggae sound and thought-provoking lyrical reflections on societal ills. Hard Way, her 2010 breakout hit, spoke to the grave consequences of choosing the wrong path.
Ikaya’s powerhouse vocals shone with clarity and conviction, chronicling the fatal karma of a juvenile who drew to gun violence, and the teenage pregnancy that could have been avoided by yielding to a mother’s warnings.
Ikaya continued with follow-ups like Fly Away and These Tears, cementing her gift for melodising even the harshest of realities.
Her versatility extends to love songs, much of which highlight her skill of captivating storytelling heard on delights like Leave You Alone (with Jesse Royal) and Ain’t Giving Up. Then there’s the ‘cheeky humour’ lyricist that is Ikaya, contributing to one-of-a-kind pieces like the autobiographical Ugly Girl.
With around 24,000 monthly Spotify listeners, Ikaya stays busy on tour or recording new music, and in other cases, is blessing her vocals on projects like the freshly-dropped Dexta Dap’s Trilogy album.
Muir is also one to curate her catalogue based on personal experiences, like the recently-released Try Again, a boundary-setting journal produced by Jiggy D Entertainment.
The St James-native made her major performance debut in 2016 as a contestant of the now-defunct Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall television show. After placing in the top 10, the vocal fireball recorded Proud Side Chick for Good Good Productions, before migrating to the United States.
Between getting acclimated to a new environment and dealing with family loss, Muir placed music on the back-burner to focus on school and employment. Then came COVID-19 in 2020, and Muir was laid-off from her auditing job at the Hilton hotel. With social media entertaining the world, she hopped on Instagram Live to sing her songs, which is how Yamabella premiered.
Produced by her longtime collaborator Papi Don Muziq and Top Braff Entertainment, the song went viral thanks to screen recording and dope lyrics about living in one’s truth instead of yielding to societal pressures.
With fresh concepts, brilliant songwriting, vocal versatility and an unapologetic, profound sense of self, Muir challenged conversations at the time about female dancehall music rinsing cliché topics.
With around 170,000 monthly Spotify listeners, the “top gyal” continues to expand her catalogue with tracks like Hype and Boasy, The Pain, Same Guy (with Denyque) and Crawsis (with 450).