Here’s a new section: Women to Watch
Women to Watch is our version of a holy trinity, three recommended women artists a month and a critical viewpoint that you won’t find anywhere else in the mainstream music press – with the usual fresh, original joy for music and writing.
The section editor, KitKat, opens the show.
Sound familiar? Her latest album was El Mal Querer, if that helps. No? It became the most listened to album on Spotify Spain in its first 24 hours. Still nothing? Perhaps, because it’s Spanish. But, just because Brexit looms ever closer, we can’t forget that we are still part of Europe. We need to clean our binoculars and peer back across the English Channel sometimes, otherwise, we’ll miss chillingly talented people like Rosalía.
Now, how to describe El Mal Querer. Imagine inviting a pop star; a classical orchestra or church choir, depending on the track; a flamenco dancer; and an R&B artist into a cathedral and telling them to make music. A personal favourite is ‘BAGDAD – Cap.7: Liturgia’.
Dancer, singer, songwriter, producer, fashionista… Is there anything this girl can’t achieve if she puts her mind to it? And speaking of singing, my god, her voice. When I say chillingly talented, I mean it. There are only three voices I have heard in my life that have physically given me goosebumps, and hers is one of them. What I would give to see her live. If 2019 is not the year in which she truly blossoms into our charts, then I will not only be severely disappointed but also completely bewildered as to why.
I’m not usually one for half-naked girls overly shaking their extra cellulite. But, three confident women standing in front of urinals is an image that certainly intrigues me. She is body positive, feminist, unashamedly herself; and her music just makes you want to move to it. No matter who you are, you’re sure to find something you can take away from Lizzo.
Lizzo is a firm believer and active promoter of body positivity and self-love, having struggled with body issues from an early age. All her back-up dancers are plus-size and the casting of her music videos stresses inclusivity of body-type and contains a variety of ethnicities. It’s as if every part of her celebrates individuality.
Only four days into 2019, she released her latest track ‘Juice’. It screams of self-empowerment with a dash of 70’s commercials and a squeeze of hiphop-jazz. Her sassy lyrics are so contradictory to the retro vibe, and yet together it keeps the music video fresh and upbeat.
You don’t need to be naked to get attention. You could just be talented, sophisticated, a little sassy: classy. Cleo Sol proves this. She just relies on her voice and sheer skill alone to keep you hooked. And it works. Combine that with lyrics that drip with sickening realism and there you have Cleo Sol’s music.
‘COLOURS’ is a YouTube channel that celebrates ethnic and cultural variety, with artists ranging from unheard of to almost famous.
She’s not afraid to tell the truth, be it personal to her or a form of social commentary. But for me, that doesn’t even begin to show her musical brilliance; I can’t get enough of the mixture of urban and classical. In every song, it seems as though she has a new story to tell and she alliterates with drumsticks and foreshadows with string sections.
Cleo Sol may not have been releasing music for long, but she isn’t exactly new to the UK music industry. Having gained respect from many critics around the London’s live circuit, she decided not to jump too quickly into releasing anything of her own. Now, as opposed to her old pop-based R&B style, her music is soulful, mature and honest.