Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to chat to the Paris born London based alt-jazz singer Cha:dy who was releasing the song ‘Lazy’, a song that was firmly rooted in the important issue of mental health in young people. That song has gone on to be streamed over 630,000 times on Spotify alone as people really felt the artist’s honesty and lyricism resonate with how they might be feeling. There is therefore quite a lot of excitement for the EP as it follows that theme. Cha:dy said then that the song was part of a bigger project, her yet to be released EP ‘Manifesto of Honesty’. She said then that “it’s a project in which the whole theme of it is to be completely honest and raw and say things as they are”, so it was with huge excitement that I listened to the EP and went along to see this hugely talented artist launch the project at the beautifully refurbished Battersea Barge in London.
The venue could not have suited the launch more. Intimate yet buzzy; the mix of excitement for the project and the support for this artist was palpable. Having put back the launch due to Covid restrictions, it was so nice to be in a room of such diversity all united in that familiar love of music, and for Cha:dy in particular. The Battersea Barge could not have been better suited and I can’t wait to visit again.
Cha:dy describes ‘Manifesto of Honesty’ as a “sort of music diary” and goes on “it’s all the things I needed to confess to myself and to everyone else, it’s the ugly honest raw truth. It’s a big shake of catchy melodies, two confessions, one big secret, a rap track and French and English lyrics combined”. The songs of this artist have always been in keeping with her name which is taken from the Arabic word for melodious but this time, the EP tackles themes rarely broached in modern pop music. Her usual unapologetic narration of her life has taken a very personal twist as she deals with depression and anxiety issues with the song ‘Lazy’, coming out to your family with ‘Mom, I Gotta Tell You, I Think I like Girls Too’, the drowning effect of toxic relationships in ‘Suffocating’ and the pain, history and events leading to the BLM movement on the deeply moving ‘Brother’. The EP’s hugely personal themes are rounded off nicely with the summer anthem ‘Pink Lemonade’ which also acts as the lead single at EP launch, a sweetener before the inspirational and personal soul searching of the rest of the EP.
Cha:dy describes ‘Pink Lemonade’ as “a fun song that describes the heart-warming feeling in the air when the summer comes and you get to enjoy the sunny days with your friends. A time where you can escape the stress and reality of life in your twenties, juggling multiple jobs or university while trying to figure out who you are”. Even this could be construed differently given the fact that it was written with a view to the EP launching in the Summer and being released into an environment where enjoying summer with your friends would be such a normal event; something that the ongoing pandemic has made us all painfully aware can be taken away at the drop of a hat, the added poignancy of that almost adds an unexpected twist to the frivolity of the song.
Cha:dy takes her cues from the smooth production and classy delivery of the likes of NAO, Janelle Monae and MIA as she incorporates so many different genres into her music. Elements of jazz, pop and soul infuse her music with an authenticity that sweeps you up into the warm embrace of her music and to see her perform these songs live with her band was a wonderful opportunity to see an artist at the top of her game. Sultry yet gritty, she invokes artists like Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill, and must be seen live to fully appreciate her powers.
On the night, Cha:dy was joined by her full band and had additional, outstanding vocals and support from Celine Love who I’m sure I will be writing about in the future. An infectiously warm singer who effortlessly fused folk and soul to tell her stories. Beautifully accompanied by her own guitar, her acoustic set to open the launch was a huge discovery for me and I can’t wait to see more from her. Celine has an American, Jamaican and German background and the songs ‘Twenty-Five’ and ‘Rose Coloured’ really stood out before she debuted her new song ‘Like You Like That’ to rapturous applause from the sold out event. I would really encourage you to check out Celine’s Roundhouse Hub sessions online to get a flavour of this fresh new talent.