R&B is a young person’s game -- at least judging by the Billboard Hot 100, where streaming-friendly artists like Lizzo and Khalid dominate. But look a little deeper, and you’ll find that the hitmakers of yesteryear are, well, still making hits. In July, Monica’s throbbing slow jam “Commitment” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s radio-based Adult R&B Songs list -- her first chart-topper there since 2010. Fantasia, who this year celebrated the 15th anniversary of her American Idol win, hit No. 2 on the same chart in August with the ’80s-inspired “Enough.” Brandy is sitting just inside the tally’s top 10 with “Love Again,” a lush duet with Daniel Caesar. And all three have full-length projects expected this fall -- proof that R&B’s new class of veteran divas still has plenty of opportunities.
“They’re in the right demo of ‘grown but not retired,’ ” says Dee Dee Faison, promotions director at WBLS (107.5 FM) New York. And that middle ground is not a bad place to be. As Heather Lowery, vp talent and touring at Live Nation Urban, puts it: “They’ve made timeless music that still appeals to their original fan base yet connects to younger fans who are able to appreciate the progression of R&B.”