January and February can feel like tired times of the year – a lot of recycled material, recycled offers. Then new music works its way through and hits your eardrums like a dash of springtime – you celebrate in the sound. That’s certainly the effect of ‘Nobody’s Baby,’ the new single from Emily James.
Originally from New York and now based in Los Angeles, Emily James is an artist who has woven inner city insight into her tracks; with ‘Nobody’s Baby’ part of her upcoming debut album, “Til the Morning” due for release on the 9th of February, which she recorded with producer Ryan Hadlock.
This is self-written music which warns against objectification in relationships– avoiding the emptiness of so many pop tunes desperately strung together at this time of year. It has soul – and stamina.
‘I was a rainbow, he was colour blind’ the track opens, working on this visual theme well with visceral finger snaps and catchy guitar. It gives gravitas leading to the resounding line of ‘leave me alone’ before a plunge into the chorus.
Not only is the well-built tune a driving force for defiance against female objectification – the buoyancy of the vocals themselves gives a profound statement. Timely too. James’ voice wields the hot weight and almost jazzy depth of sound as reminds me of the likes of Amy Winehouse, but still unique and without being dated.
And it is these vocals which give well-worked pace and volume to the conclusion of the chorus: ‘I’m no little girl/ I’m a lady and I ain’t no nobody’s baby.’ Perhaps a case of overtly obvious rhyme here? It could seem so, but what becomes increasingly obvious as the track progresses is that James is shouting out against the simplistic stereotypes doled out in relationships. Showing them up. For example, she sings of a man ‘sugar sweet’ before dismantling the image. Clever.
There’s a deftly-crafted defiance in the line ‘Nobody’s baby’ itself too, resounding in the message of retaining one’s own identity – and the music is aptly powerful. This synchronisation between the spoken and the sound, volume and vocals is a key sign of a quality singer-songwriter at work, delivering expressions of emotion that hit the listener, hard.
It’s not often that you hear material from a debut like this that dares to go beyond sweetness and showcases irritation, anger, a want for difference. Blossoming even out the winter. Give it a listen.
‘Nobody’s Baby’ is out now – available to purchase on iTunes here.