Alfie Templeman Has Something to Prove on Radiosoul

The English singer-songwriter’s second album is a coming-of-age, summer listen that emerged from an intense period of reflection and self-discovery.

Music Reviews Alfie Templeman
Alfie Templeman Has Something to Prove on Radiosoul

At 19, English pop-funk artist Alfie Templemen was terrified of turning 20. At 21, he’s just released his sophomore album, Radiosoul, and it’s safe to say those fears were unfounded. Hailing from just north of London, Templeman got signed to Chess Club Records at only 15 years old and became something of a sensation with his 2019 EP, Don’t Go Wasting Time. Over the next few years, however, he began to wonder if listeners were only impressed by his music because of his age. “I’ve never really had that sheer intensity that you get when you turn a certain age [until] I turned 20,” he said in 2023. “It was this massive weight on me all of a sudden. As someone that’s kind of known as a teenager making these songs, is it not as impressive now that I’m 20?”

Radiosoul emerged from that imminent introspection. While maintaining the joy and electric groove of his earlier work, the record brings forth a newfound complexity to Templeman’s lyricism and production. It is cohesive—effortlessly shifting between disco, funk and psych-pop—yet each song remains distinct and rarely repetitive. This self-discovery is paired with mainly upbeat tracks, fitting for a summer release. It’s hard to place a pin on Templeman’s genre or make a direct comparison to another artist, as he blends modern dance and traditional jazz elements to create something entirely his own.

Radiosoul’s title-track was inspired by a desire for escapism during a social media cleanse, and the song employs a warmth that builds up slower than on other parts of the album—allowing listeners to sink into the groove before diving into the rest of the record. On “Radiosoul,” Templeman addresses the overwhelming, constant influx of information online, singing, “The radio stays on, while nobody listens.” “People go to great lengths to conceal their imperfections, committing to this growing and burdening illusion. I think the song to me just helps to embrace the little imperfections of being human,” Templeman said. “It’s okay to get away from your phone for a while and clear up that headache feeling.”

Radiosoul features production from Templeman himself, as well as the renowned Nile Rodgers, one of the Englishman’s musical inspirations—“Just a Dance” celebrates this collaboration with Rodgers with a driving bass and sharp, funky beat. “Hello Lonely” is the album’s centerpiece and just screams summer, with an upbeat guitar track, Templeman’s signature falsetto vocals and a bouncy brass solo in tow. The groove is playful and infectious, creating a vibrant, maximalist production. Towards the end of the album, Templeman slows the tempo with “Switch,” a cathartic track about tuning into your true artistic intentions and desires. He sings, “I’m scared to be the things you want.”

Radiosoul’s final track, “Run to Tomorrow,” is its most vulnerable. Templeman strips down the work both musically and lyrically, employing confessional lyrics that dive into his fear of facing his twenties, singing “Is this the beginning? / Is it never ending? / I tried to let go / Run to tomorrow” in the chorus. But instead of running away, Templeman continues to look deeper and. As he progresses on his path of self-discovery, he offers words of reassurance: “This is the lowest you can feel / But it will pass and you will heal / Don’t fall into the trap / The door that leads the right away / Step out through there, you’ll be okay.” “It was about finding my feet and becoming more comfortable with myself again, and also becoming an adult,” he noted. “Moving out, understanding myself, and realizing I’ve changed a lot. I don’t exactly know who I am at this stage but it’s normal to feel that way. I feel like even though I’m terrible at talking about my feelings, music does make it easier.”

Growing up is inescapable, but the anxiety for the unknown ahead can be amplified by the spotlight and pressures of young success. On Radiosoul, Alfie Templeman eases further into himself with each track, landing in a comfortable place and proving that his music isn’t impressive because he’s young, but because of his intricate relationship with his own artistry.

Alyssa Goldberg is a writer and photographer based in New York. Find her on Twitter @alyssaegoldberg or at alyssaegoldberg.com.

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