Review: Emanuel’s Debut ‘Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion’ Is a Breathtaking R&B Experience

Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion - Emanuel
A moving, intimate new R&B experience, Emanuel’s debut EP ‘Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion’ is a breathtakingly beautiful record that will have us feeling the full spectrum of emotion.
Stream: ‘Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion’ – Emanuel




One listen to Emanuel’s debut single is enough to know that he is going to be an R&B star: The rush of feeling he packs into “Need You” is second only to his jaw-dropping vocal performance, full of tasteful croons and haunting cries. The way he sends shivers down the spine with ease is sublime; his subtle quivers and bellowing quakes speak not just to broken hearts, but to all hearts everywhere. A moving, intimate new R&B experience, Emanuel’s debut EP Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion is a breathtakingly beautiful record that will have us feeling the full spectrum of emotion.

Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion - Emanuel

Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion – Emanuel

I feel I just fell in love with you
like a song on the radio

Ooh, baby, I – I don’t
I don’t want that same
cold loving that I had before

Are you different?
You taste different
You feel different
It seems different
I think I’m in love
I feel I need you to breathe
I feel I need you to breathe, yeah
I feel I need you to breathe

Released June 19, 2020 via Universal Music Canada, Session 1: Disillusion arrives as the first collection of music from Emanuel’s upcoming debut album, ALT THERAPY. The three-track extended player wastes no time in establishing the Canadian-Ethiopian artist as a musical force to be reckoned with – not to mention a voice to be reckoned with. Emanuel brings his natural talents to the fore on “Need You,” “Thought It’d Be Easy,” and “Addiction” – each of which finds him in a slightly different element.

Alt Therapy. It represents so many things,” Emanuel writes in his artist manifesto. “It is healing. Healing for those things in the past that would have us in bondage, in depression, in sadness. Those voices that told us we weren’t important. It’s gratification for the yearning in our hearts to do something great for the people of this world. These songs are stories – stories from me, about us. I believe God has been the leading benefactor. He gave me virtues and a voice. He gave me melodies that catch the ear and the soul. All of this, so that I could give a message of truth and love – filled with peace, to the world. This album is happening during this renaissance of beautiful black art in the world. I want to make my mark in this renaissance…with beautiful music…forged in countless hours of dedication and defiance to the bullshit going on. I would rather sip my favourite wine daily, then try all the world’s wines. My music is like wine that renews herself daily and is true to her flavour always.“

My music is like wine that renews herself daily and is true to her flavour always.



Emanuel © Matt Barnes

Emanuel © Matt Barnes



Released in April, “Need You” set a high bar: Its music video, directed by Matt Di Carlo with creative direction by the singular Idris Elba, gave Emanuel instant visibility and considerable bragging rights. Yet “Need You” doesn’t need anyone else’s tag: It leaves a lasting mark that is all its own, thanks to Emanuel’s poetic lyricism and majestic vocals.

If the love is pure, if the love is pure, baby
Should we take some more? Should we take some more?
If the love is pure, if the love is pure, baby
Should we take some more? Should we take some more?
I feel I need you to breathe
I feel I need you to breathe, yeah
I feel I need you to breathe

Session 1: Disillusion‘s additional two songs open the artist’s world up through both softer and brighter hues. “Thought It’d Be Easy” is raw pain manifest, its poignant piano chords and reverb-drenched guitars conveying the artist’s nostalgia and longing with finesse. “I’m fucking this girl and I’m thinking about you,” the artist sings bluntly, letting the word “you” slip off his tongue only to rise and fall in waves of drenched passion. Meanwhile, “Addiction” is a hypnotic, intoxicating vibe: Made for those late nights you never want to end, the song pulses with feeling as the artist sings, “I get a funny feeling when the plane goes down; it’s the same feeling when the drugs run out; I’m so high, I don’t wanna come down – buildings and the people look like ants right now.

Emanuel © Matt Barnes

Emanuel © Matt Barnes



Unassuming and unbreakable, Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion sets the foundation for greatness.

Emanuel’s artistry is full of depth, color and passion: He lays his heart and his soul out for all to see, hear, and feel.

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Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion - Emanuel

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com