It’s safe to say we’ve been a huge admirer of Gabrielle Sey here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies, ever since premiering her single ‘Break My Silence‘ back in 2018. The South London-based songwriter now kick starts 2020 with her first release of the year, ‘GIRL,’ out on January 29th via the excellent label and artistic collective Galang, whose work is dedicated to supporting and empowering female identifying and non-binary musicians of colour.
‘GIRL’ is a breathtakingly confident number, brimming with creativity from start to finish. We begin with a chilled vibe, Gabrielle’s soulful vocals entwined around an acoustic melody, inspired by her Ghanaian heritage, which really lends the track its own identity. There’s then a moment in which the song suddenly bursts into a whole new direction, changing tempo and fleshing out with dramatic percussion, backing vocals and intricate guitarwork. It’s a truly cathartic moment, made all the more powerful by playing against the expectations of where you think the track is heading. After that we move into a more abstract, jazz infused outro, again keeping the listener enraptured by its unexpected departure from form.
Lyrically, the number seeks to explore the paradox between vulnerability and strength in a relationship. Focusing in on a woman confronted with a cheating partner, in Gabrielle’s own words, “Sometimes you feel like you’d be a strong woman in that position but actually, if it did happen it would probably be half and half. You’d still be in love.”
What’s most remarkable about ‘GIRL’ is how fluid everything sounds. The sudden changes in pace and structure could come across as jarring and fragmented, but there’s an emotional through-line lead by Gabrielle that really grounds the number. The production as well is exceptional, with so many parts and layers taking place at once it would be easy to sound muddled and overstuffed, but there’s a clear balance and space for each element to be heard and appreciated.
Overall, a thrilling artistic step forward for Gabrielle Sey, centred around her beautiful and commanding voice. We can’t wait to hear where she takes us next.
To celebrate the release of ‘GIRL’, Gabrielle Sey will be performing live at London’s Hart Club on Sunday 2nd February. Tickets are available now, via this link.