A big synth can get in a singer’s way or potentially form the perfect canvass atop which lyrics could paint a beautiful picture, and in the case of the new single “Girl from the Forest” from the seductive KSENIA, the latter is most definitely true. KSENIA’s voice is a potent force to be reckoned with, but being that it’s partnered with a juggernaut of a synth part in this track, we’re forced to appreciate just how much intensity she brings to the table just as a singer. She’s utilizing the backdrop as a vehicle for owning the spotlight, which is a skill they simply don’t teach in any school.
The clandestine vocal attack that KSENIA employs between choruses maximizes the eroticism in this mix, but furthermore, I think it lends an epic sensibility to even relatively whimsical lyrics here. She’s got such a smooth delivery that she never has to raise her voice or exploit the melodic underpinning in the instrumentation beyond what she would in a straightforward pop harmony, which leaves her a lot of room to let the beat work its magic and spellbind us in ways linguistics never could on their own.
Although the percussion, in tandem with the bassline, of course, is producing a hard swing that would be difficult for a lot of singers to contend with in any scenario, I think the way KSENIA manages the instrumental tension on the backend of this single exemplifies why she’s going viral at the moment. Her versatility cannot be concealed by anything in this performance – no matter how big a groove, or what it’s made of, her singing has the power to adapt to the rhythm and carve out a nice little fever pitch where there would otherwise be nothing but a conventional transition from one stanza to the next.
The music video for “Girl from the Forest” plays up the humility in the lyricism, but it also affords us a glimpse into the kind of freewheeling energy KSENIA has even in the most humbling of circumstances. There’s no breaking that gaze she gives the camera, and I would even say that she’s got a signature presence more akin to something I’d see from a veteran than it is anything I’ve come across among the other young up and comers I’ve been reviewing for the better part of the last few years.
I’m crazy about what KSENIA is dishing out in this single, and if you haven’t had the chance to check out her grooves for yourself, “Girl from the Forest” is the right single to start your introduction. She’s got a solid direction here that I think she needs to stick with as a performer, but given the flexibility of her singing skill and what she’s already doing with it at this stage of the game, it would be a shame to see her commit to one specific aesthetical concept over another right now. I want to see what happens for her career next, and based on the moxie she has in “Girl from the Forest,” I think whatever she does is likely going to be good for pop music in her scene in general.
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