2 Dec 2022
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Kyla Greening - Single Review: Promises

26 Oct 2022 // A review by Dr Mark Baynes

Promises by Kyla Greening is described as a "funkadelic 'boy-bye' to promise-breakers that have led you on for too long" - inspired by the grooves and rhythms of neo-soul and hip-hop artists like D'angelo and Erykah Badu. Yes I hear those famous Soulquarians in this track, but I also hear Prince (or TAFKAP), Beyoncé-like pop sensibilities, all of this is wrapped up using an up-to-date production style. 

If you start singing the chorus of a song it's a really good sign that you are listening to something special, and the chorus is how Promises starts, and I ended up singing it quite quickly. It is relaxed, buoyant, and grooves with a relaxed assurance. The bass line really pops, sometimes busier with octave runs, it sits behind the beat in places, and is unapologetic and pianistic on occasion too. In many ways, and in addition to Greening's vocals, the bass line is the 'soul' of Promises

As it progresses though, the energy of this song builds quite naturally with tasteful vocal layering, dirt added to the rhythmic groove by way of a deliberate looseness (of course a Soulquarian trait), and with a kind of slow build of which is both organic and surprising - really cool. The rhodes, guitar, then synth all help build the energy of each subsequent chorus.

In terms of harmony, the tune is largely built using suspended chords Bm7/E and Am7/D, a sound that I love, and in terms of musical prosody, helps to support the narrative of the song, which is all about the effects of waiting for (and ultimately being disappointed by) somebody, so a story 'suspended' in time if you like.

Promises by Kyla Greening is a poignant reminder that it is not only possible to pay homage to great artists that have influenced music, but that this tip-of-the-hat can presented with a strong modern flavour - fresh, joyful, musical, and grounded.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Kyla Greening

Hailing from a small community in Hamilton, New Zealand where everyone is your aunty or uncle, Kyla Greening always knew she wanted to sing. She remembers her father teaching her music theory in scrawled notations on the back of a surfboard, or family dinners where the sing-alongs were almost as important as the food.

With heroes such as Stevie Wonder, Mint Condition, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Tori Kelly, Kyla was able to study and be inspired by thick rhythmic grooves, soaring melodies and meaningful words. Music was not only a way to express herself and share her voice with the world, it was also a way for Kyla to give back to the people and communities that mean so much to her.

True to the title of her debut single, Kyla offers a rich sound brimming not only with warm vocals and lush instrumentation, but with heart, and the grounding reminder that often the most important things in life are the ones we have right here.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Kyla Greening

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