With comparisons drawn early in her career to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Laura Marling, Genevieve Dawson is an artist we have been keen to champion here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies for several years, since the release of her debut EP Things My Mother Tells Me back in 2017. The Edinburgh-born, London-based singer made her mark in 2019 as one of the winners of the Drake YolanDa award for emerging artists, as well as gaining national airplay from the likes of BBC Introducing, BBC Radio 6 Music, Worldwide FM and Soho Radio.
Now Genevieve delivers the goods once again, with her latest track, ‘Tight Lips,’ as she concocts a dreamy, soothing atmosphere which works to ease the heaviness of the times we’re living in. Swiftly following up from her previous number ‘Mountain,’ it’s the second single to be released from her forthcoming album, the wonderfully titled Letters I Won’t Send, set for release on May 1st via Hertha Records, an independent co-operative label based in South East London for women and non-binary people.
Here on ‘Tight Lips,’ we find a beautiful, relaxed arrangement from the start, with her band on top form throughout. There’s a restrained quality to the jazz-tinged sound that really eases you into the subtle textures, from cello to violin, that are woven throughout. A standout, rolling saxophone line from Chelsea Carmichael, interspersed in waves throughout, really elevates the number. Genevieve’s vocal performance sits high and clear above the production, her diction and emotional resonance precise and heartfelt. Lyrically, she muses poetically on longing, using nature as an effective framing device. Repeated refrains such as “You’re the source of the river in me” and “You’re the sea that is rising in me” are such simple, elegant phrasings that work to build a natural, organic feel to the music.
There’s no doubt that the turbulent times that we’re currently living through have rooted an array of anxieties in our collective consciousness. As is often the case for many of us when faced with times of hardship, we turn to music, the art form that above all others provides solace and brings us together. We seek out songs of compassion and comfort that promote a sense of communal spirit, and it is sublime work such as Genevieve’s that helps us to do so.
This is top rate work from an artist really coming into her element. We can’t wait for when the album drops next month.
‘Tight Lips’ is out now on Hertha Records – available to Stream/Purchase here.
Photo Credit: Chloe Wicks