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Jessica Leigh - EP Review: Lightbeam

03 Nov 2023 // A review by Corinne Rutherford
Wellington based Nelsonian, singer, songwriter and producer Jessica Leigh has recently released her third EP Lightbeam. Changing tack from her previous EP in 2021, the acoustic guitars and strings have given way to full synthpop sound with an 80's inspired vibe. The 5-track EP is a reflection on life, love, heartbreak, and new beginnings.


From the age of 11 Jessica knew she wanted to start writing music. Inspired by seeing Taylor Swift in concert the young Swiftie took that inspiration and ran with it eventually creating her own sound combining a fusion of popular modern-day music with 1980's synthpop.

The popular track Wired kicks off Lightbeam with a beautifully written heartfelt song about the ending of a relationship. It is far from maudlin, rather a raw honest account tinged with sadness. This marks the start of the chronological track list which covers everything from lost love to a new love and the makings of a new life in between.

The layering of vocals and an ethereal soundscape take Missing You to the edges of a soft pop ballad. This is a tender track, reflective in nature the song has a sweet tone which must have touched the hearts of many as it got to number 17 on the Official Hot 20 NZ Singles Chart.

Upbeat, light-hearted, youthful pop that is fizzing with optimism could describe both Girlfriends and Lightbeam. Breathy vocals accompanied by synth and a drum machine when all pulled together create a cohesive and polished sound.

It may have been because I added a couple of Swifts songs to my gym list, or it subconsciously entered my brain via the air waves, but I can hear her influence on Jessica Leighs music clearly.

Last track on the EP is a cover of Hot Child In The City which was originally released way back in 1978 by Nick Gilder. As far as covers go, this is a good one. It’s a bit slower and a bit grungier than the original, it has also been given the 80's treatment which gives it another layer of depth in sound. I believe it is a rather ironic song given where she is now.

The young musician has impressive stats across multiple streaming platforms and an ever-growing fan base. Jessica Leigh has the talent of a sparkling NZ star on the rise.

 

About Jessica Leigh

Born and raised in small-town New Zealand, emerging pop princess Jessica Leigh has been writing songs about the beauty of youth since 12 years of age. Now 19, the Kiwi songstress is gearing up to release her second EP Summerland later this year. The EP is a 5 part narrative articulating the love story of a Summer romance from its beautiful beginning to its inevitable end.

Summerland is the follow-up to Leigh's debut effort 17 - a four-part, vibrant electro-pop love letter to that time in her life. Jessica claims that "nostalgia is the biggest catalyst for [her] songwriting," and that she finds "there is unparalleled beauty in youth. Life is so rich when you’re young and everything and everybody lasts forever. I can’t think of anything more romantic than that."

Her songwriting style is rich in imagery and metaphor - a talent transferred from her poetic background. While growing up, Jessica received national awards for her poetry and prose, and in more recent years her songwriting is receiving similar praise.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Jessica Leigh

Releases

Lightbeam
Year: 2023
Type: EP
Summerland
Year: 2021
Type: EP

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