Zeshan B is a Chicago-based, first-generation Indian-American musician whose father was a journalist that covered the 1960s and 1970s US Civil Rights Movement before moving to America, and Zeshan's multicultural upbringing was reflected on his breakthrough 2017 debut album Vetted. It was inspired both by Indo-Pakistanki music and Civil Rights-era soul, and Zeshan sang in English, Urdu and Punjabi. This Friday (5/15), he follows Vetted with his sophomore album Melismatic (on Minty Fresh Records, pre-order), and this album picks right up where Vetted left off, mixing classic soul, traditional Indian instrumentation, and some more modern art pop sounds and coming out with an album that sounds triumphant, uplifting, and powerful. And as you can tell from the album artwork alone, this is very much protest music, and it sounds as urgent today as many of Zeshan's influences sounded in the '60s and '70s. Zeshan says:

I made my mark on the world with Vetted. In that album, I breathed life into the songs of others and echoed the sentiments and anthems of the past that had currency in today’s world. I now breathe my own life into my own songs.

And what a life it has been. I have seen more seismic ups and downs in the past 2 years than I could’ve ever dreamed of. Enormous gains. Shattering losses. And many sleepless nights.

But the only thing that seems to remain stable all throughout this has been instability itself. I have learned to love and hate instability as a reality of my life’s journey.

[...] It is precisely that instability that has governed my life--whether it was my knees shaking from the awesome pressure of singing for 10 million Americans on TV or my soul breaking from washing the lifeless body of my best friend and preparing him for his final transit to Pakistan--instability has left its indelible mark on me.

And the moanful melismas of my birthright music--the music of the storied Indus River Valley--are the very soundbytes of that instability. They are the soundbytes of that maladjustment. They are the soundbytes of the mirthful ecstasy and the angsty despair that make up the soundtrack of my life.

Thus the title Melismatic. For it is all I’ve ever known!

The album officially comes out tomorrow, but we've got a full stream of it right now. Check it out: