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Ashley Delima – Cigarette


What a song. Ashley Delima’s single “Cigarette” stands out as one of the superior pop songwriting experiences I’ve heard in recent memory. It mesmerized me only seconds in thanks to Delima’s outstanding vocal abilities – she has a show-stopping flair for getting under the skin of a track without ever making the experience inaccessible for listeners. It’s hard, and probably not wise, to assume this is an autobiographical track of some sort, but nearly every adult has experienced the song’s subject matter in some way and, regardless, she owns the song as if it were something she lived with all the accompanying tears and heartbreak involved.

The presence of hip hop artist $tandard elevates an already memorable experience to an entirely new level. He doesn’t come in until well into the track and his presence transforms an already remarkable outing into something even finer because the interplay between the two voices and the respective lyrical content for each never overreaches – $tandard’s presence here is to compliment and accentuate rather than compete. He does so with great style. His presence further underscores the job Delima, in collaboration with veteran producer Marc Swersky, songwriter Brielle Brown, and Alex DeMaio, accomplish with the lyrics. “Cigarette” has a maturity of style and substance Delima more than lives up to and its deft turns of phrase are something $tandard handles with equal aplomb.


Another of the song’s many strengths resides with its arrangement. It is a deceptively simple affair tied together by a light drumming touch, acoustic guitar, and a generous coloring of synthesizers/keyboards. It has a naturalness emphasizing the aforementioned deceptive simplicity, but any rigorously attentive music fans will recognize that it actually reveals the sheer chops and depth of talent marking this release. In the span of a little over three minutes, “Cigarette” encompasses a world of musical thought with a surehandedness certain to please both the earlier mentioned hardcore listeners and casual fans alike.

It’s a remarkable feat for someone only recently turned twenty years old. Delima is obviously being groomed for greater and greater heights thanks to the aforementioned music powerhouses working alongside her, but she isn’t being pushed to those heights – rather these talented collaborators are merely helping facilitate a faster ascent. She would make her mark regardless. Delima is a rare talent in many years, harboring a well developed skill set reaching far beyond her two decades on this planet. She will continue to show, I am sure, the same willingness to work alongside the best with each passing year and they will enhance her already prodigious artistry.

“Cigarette” is everything I could want and more from a top shelf pop song in 2018. If it figures as a featured work on her forthcoming EP release, Young & Unafraid, I can’t wait to her what other songs will accompanying it on that studio recording. It will likely prove to be another pivotal moment in a burgeoning career that can go nowhere but up from this point forward. Let’s join her on this marvelous ride.


Amy Thigpen



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