Heistheartist is Back With New Music

Heistheartist began life as LeeMann Bassey and chasing dreams of success as a neo-soul singer. When Bassey heard an online sermon from evangelist TD Jakes, however, the transformative effect of its message steered him in a new direction. Heistheheart embraced a different nom de plume and a direction in life that upended everything he knew. He didn’t forget everything he knew, however, and the neo-soul heart of his secular music continues bleeding over into his work. Under the Influence of Love (Acoustic Soul) is a six song display of his skills that Heistheartist structures along conceptual lines. He charts the progress of a love affair that ends in ruins while making a larger statement about God’s ultimate redemptive potential in his life. His masterful exhibition of classic soul is icing on the cake.

His choice of covers shows obvious reference points. “Me and Mr. Jones” is a beautiful instrumental interpretation of Amy Winehouse’s original. It’s recast as a solo piano piece rife with all of the choice elements that made Winehouse’s version such a classic. Newcomers and listeners alike will never miss the presence of a vocalist and it begins Under the Influence of Love with an evocative start. “Boom (Doo Wop)” is the first full song, lyrics and singing included, and sets a definite tone for everything that follows.

One musical face doesn’t not alone define Heistheartist. We encounter the neo-soul style during “Boom” and it’s obvious why it’s influenced his direction from the beginning. Some listeners may long for a live band backing Heistheartist, but “Boom” doesn’t lose anything from the electronic instrumentation. The original depicts the first wave of desire that sweeps over us when we fall in love and the understated sultriness of the arrangement brings the theme to life. His vocals accentuate the atmosphere.


“Caught Out There (Acoustic)” eschews pre-programmed instrumentation in favor of voice and piano. It makes for an excellent pairing. It’s a cover of a Kelis original that Heistheartist reshapes into his song. He plants that flag early without ever forsaking Kelis’ version. The EP’s final cover “Ungodly Hour (Acoustic)” turns to Chole X Halle’s song for one of the most important moments on Heistheartist’s release. The song portrays God’s love and how it never abandons us even during times of trial. The guitar playing during this song is a highlight.

“God is On My Mind” is Heistheartist’s final original song on the EP. He returns to the same musical terrain we hear during the earlier “Boom” though the pace and overall mood differ. The natural progression of his songwriting, each part falling into seamless place along the way, stands out. The final song on Under the Influence of Love arrives with a piano cover of Erykah Badu’s “Out My Mind, Just in Time”. Closing the EP with another short instrumental points to the clear design that supports this release. It’s a perfect ending. It likewise points the way towards a future that could scarcely be brighter for Heistheartist. Labels such as contemporary Christian or its ilk are far from fair. 

Gwen Waggoner