Sunday, September 8, 2019

Indie Music: Aza Nabuko

by Germar Derron

Lorde. Billie Eilish. Now, Aza Nabuko. We have to accept that young women artists can do anything.

First, listen to tracks one and two ("Strangers," "Ordinary"), on Nabuko's new self-titled EP.  You'll know that Nabuko is honest, significant, rangy, artful, and obviously here to stay. Then, check the official website. There, you'll find an unbelievable claim: she's just 16-years-old. 

Age matters here because that fact contradicts the voice, the manner that the subjects are covered--the feeling. Maybe Canadians age in dog years. Her relative youth should excite you because it allows for decades of excellence in songwriting and performance. And much like the best of us, in any craft, it's easy to imagine her getting better and better and better.

Nabuko's voice possesses a distinct quality that the best modern female vocalists seem to master. The voice is husky and warm, even when not necessarily low in pitch. But then, it's also crystal clear--clean. It's heady, throaty, and chesty all at the same time. It could remind you of many top-tier non-American vocalists--Alanis Morissette, Ellie Goulding, Duffy . . . .  There's something about that complex collection of  quality that seems to equate to "hit song."

In the videos, she's playing around on a piano, and with an acoustic guitar. But apparently she's not playing around; she's just playing, and well. And it's why I hesitate to call this pop. When I think of a pop artist, I think of someone who's primarily the voice. I take nothing away from them, but it's a different skill: learning someone else's words, then being coached by writers, producers, and instrumentalists. The vulnerability, sincere confidence, and innate talent that it takes to put yourself in a song and then wrap that and present it to the world--that's really special.

2019 might just be a very special year in music, especially indie music.


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