Haze - Essie Jain
"Haze" starts like a secret prayer, a soliloquy, a slow grace of piano and voice. If that's all there was, it would be a very pretty song. Essie Jain's (full name, Essie Jain Wilkinson) hand is steady and her voice is keen and deliberate. She's restrained the way a singer who has operatic training is -- knowing it's all in the potential to push limits, but not necessary to constantly do so. And confident how women who daily navigate New York are (though she's originally from England). But something even more wonderful happens in "Haze," beginning just under a minute. Her voice thickens and pleats and the keys pick up their feet, lose their moorings, and gather plucked strings. It's a flowering that's torpid at first, but soon reveals brass that blazon brighter, chorus on chorus. Cymbals shower sparks. And as Wilkinson's voice rises and beams, "I am right behind you," it unpetals like a vivid pink rose open full to the sun. The song, in its bold, chromatic denouement, offers itself not just soul, but body.
Hear another song, "Glory," on Essie Jain's website.
Buy We Made This Ourselves early from Ba Da Bing. The official release is in February.
Dusted has a good profile of Essie Jain.