Dova Lewis’ self-titled debut EP is a tour de force of an artist on the rise and an excellent voice for women anywhere looking for a slice of empowerment music with plenty of emotional weight and resonance behind it. Lewis has led an eclectic life that has drawn her to various parts of North America, and she currently finds herself back in her hometown of Montreal, but none of these choices was a step backward. After spending some time in LA and having the opportunity to work with producer Darryl Swan (Macy Gray, Erykah Badu), she was able to put together this passionate record that brims with so much heart as it does heartache.
The lead single from the EP “Dreamer” is a fantastic pseudo-soul-pop track with an emphasis on being, what else, a dreamer. Her voice is miraculous and powerful, with a bleeding heart Saprono energy and sound that carries all over the album. Her range is truly on display on all of these songs that move at such a wonderful place, you’ll genuinely be disappointed it only consists of four songs, but you know what they say, no good record is too long, and no bad one is short enough. The music video for “Dreamer” directed by Emilie Rosas is also just as memorable and evocative featuring some amazing dance by Marie-Reine Kabasha (also known as MQueen) and with the flickering natural light and the bountiful forest backdrop, it helps the song emphasize its already larger than life presence. The next track “Build Myself” is a bit more pragmatic than the fanciful “Dreamer” and it has fun dance energy to it with some phenomenal drum work and once again, credit to the production for being this crisp and mixed to perfection. It knows exactly how to place Lewis’ voice at the forefront without it ever feeling like we’re being assaulted by her presence.
“Build Myself” is a lot of fun, but I’d say it’s the most conventional of the four tracks, which while that doesn’t make it the “weakest” perse, covers some ground I thought the former two tracks already covered with more aplomb. Things come to a strong close however with the finale “California”. which serves as Lewis’ love letter to the place she calls “once home to her, where she supposed to be” and how hard it is to say goodbye to a place that’s meant so much to you. I’ve had a lot of friends forced to leave California due to the expenses becoming too high with the lack of the work of the pandemic, and this song made me instantly feel the heartache they felt and it’s handled with such a delicate maturity and maybe the best vocal work from Lewis on the whole record.
There are still plenty of stories within this artist and I’m hooked to hear every single one of them because if they’re handled with this much artistry and talent that we have here, we could genuinely be looking at the next big star, at least I hope she becomes one.
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