Gabrielle Sey’s new single, ‘White Noise,’ released on 7 May, is a powerful anthem for the most fundamental form of self-care—listening to yourself and no one else. Described by Sey as inspired by unwanted opinions from her loved ones—“All I hear is white noise,” she sings—it holds a message that many of us could do to hear.
Her lyrics are superficially simple, no purple prose here, but very clever and very real: “I wanna be alone—is it wrong?”, “Saved by the bell, ’cause I don’t want to talk no more,” and my favorite, “Nit-picking, tongue-slipping—you need to leave it alone.” She’s a well-developed and smart lyricist. Words like these particularly shine when coupled with her strong, versatile mezzo-soprano, one capable of changing genres within lines: Afrobeat to R&B to acoustic singer-songwriter. She’s both a talented and well-practiced vocalist.
Instrumentally, the track is a delightful blend of multiple sounds. It begins with R&B-tinged singer-songwriter, down to the percussive guitar and gentler, emotional vocals. As the song progresses, the soul and Afrobeat influences become more apparent. The appearance of the bassline and percussion actually correspond with the first use of the phrase “white noise,” marking a tonal shift in the song. Choirs join in, but never drowning out Sey’s vocals, like the famous Greek chorus standing behind the protagonist as they face down the villain.
The production is flawless; it’s not only a well-produced track, but a good representation of a growing anger at someone, coupled with the joyous self-empowerment of standing up for yourself. You can picture it like a scene in a musical, even, so intense is the story told; the bits we’re given hint at a larger picture that we don’t know but nevertheless understand.
It actually ends abruptly, “What did you—what did you say—what did you—?” and then nothing, as if she’s cutting off her detractor’s speech. Good for you, Gabrielle. Good for you.
‘White Noise’ is out now – available to Stream/Purchase here.