Vanessa Maria describes her début EP ‘Overslept’ as ‘a trip-hop mini-version of what was formerly known as a concept album. It takes the listener from the small hours to the late morning, expressing the complex feelings of a young person struggling to differentiate daydreaming from real dreams and nightmares’.
It is, if you’ll forgive me, a trip. There’s complex layered sounds, phone messages and all manner of stuff going on. It’s hugely effective and not at all mannered – ‘concept collections’ can all so easily sound too constructed. This is definitely something you’ll want to listen to in one hit.
While I’m not a huge fan of trip-hop this EP had me hitting repeat, and getting something new each time. This is a lovely ‘set’ of tracks that are hugely effective emotional and I really do recommend taking a listen.
One track from the EP – ‘Awakening’ – has been released as a video (you can see this above) and I asked my fellow LSF writer Henrietta to give me her thoughts. She said:
“There’s something fragile and tremulous about the start of this song which hooks my attention right away. It promises a track full of poignancy and pathos and I’m willing it to meet every one of my wildly unrealistic expectations. For some reasons I’m waiting for Bruce Springsteen’s Streets of Philadelphia, which is a bit crazy because this is trip-hoppy, R&B, heavy on the vocal inflections – but it’s got that same sense of intimacy and sadness, that says in big letters ‘This is a very meaningful song’. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising Vanessa for this. it’s a damn good song and performed by a singer with considerable amount of talent.
“Maybe it’s the early mention of ‘drowning in bullshit again’ when I’m ready to get ridiculously ethereal, that throws me a little, but it’s an honest kind of message and the beauty of this song is its attention to detail and finding something positive in the mundane. And I just love the way Vanessa takes you through a whole range of downbeat and day to day experiences before socking you with an unexpectedly upbeat ending … ‘I am grateful… oh so grateful just to be alive.’ And no, it’s never cheesy. There’s a particular delicious moment when Vanessa stops singing to utter ‘Fuck – now I’ve missed the bus’ in her melodious Bradford accent, and I’d defy anyone not to smile at this.
“Vanessa has one of those singing voices that demands your attention. It’s got a edginess, and a combination of little girl naivety and world weary womanhood that draws you into the very heart of the song. Her voice crafts itself round her words and changes pace and mood as the story unfolds. There’s an underlay of sadness, but also a resilience and vibrancy that is quite simply infectious. As infectious as Vanessa herself. You have to see her on the video – smiling and smoking, her hair in a scarf and wearing what looks like a particularly elegant pair of 50s silk pyjamas – as much a naughty child as she is a self confident young woman – and you know this is someone who’d be great fun to spend some time with – witty, wise and reflective, at the same time.
“Catch this young artist while you can. I’m pretty sure she will soon be going places.”
The EP is available
Vanessa Maria an independent musician from Bradford, currently living in Manchester where she studies songwriting at BIMM Manchester.
15th April @1875, Bradford
17th April @ Oporto, Leeds
18th April @ Gullivers, Manchester