Kristen Lee Sergeant is a jazz vocalist who always seems to be singing about fire. Even her website greets the visitor with a curl of animated smoke, and her album, which contains a brilliant cover of ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’, is entitled, ‘Smolder’. Her latest self-penned single, ‘Balm/Burn’, also uses the metaphor of the flame – as well as the salve to heal it – to take a closer look at a rocky romantic relationship.
Sergeant’s star has been on the rise since the release of her debut album, ‘Inside Out’, back in 2016. It introduced her as a quick-thinking, witty jazz singer, with an ability to pull out complexity and nuance from otherwise seemingly unflinching standards and pop tracks. ‘Smolder’ is deeper, brighter, and wiser, and sees Kristen show herself to be a visionary in her own right. The album contains both her own original tracks, and reworked classics such as a jazz version of Spandau Ballet’s, ‘True’. There are also ventures into chamber music, a classic torch song, and Latin rhythms. It’s Sergeant’s voice which holds it all together.
The video for ‘Balm/Burn’ was directed by young filmmaker, Katherine Horak, who has already won an audience for her work with the films, ‘Home’, and ‘What We Were’.
Initially ‘Balm/Burn’ seems quite straightforward – the camera capture’s Kristen’s performance, which is focused and sultry. Midway through the video, she is confronted by a replica of herself, opening up to a number of questions about the purpose and what it means. The doppelganger vanishes, and the camera pans back to Sergeant, singing once again. It’s an interesting clip and Sergeant’s vocals are absolutely sublime.
If you’re as enraptured as we are by Kristen Lee Sergeant, you’ll want to visit her official website. Watch ‘Balm/Burn’ below: