“Zigiyaga” by Mirabelle Fobi
To make it in modern pop, your music has to be bigger than just a voice, which is exactly what Mirabelle Fobi has going for her in the new single “Zigiyaga.” “Zigiyaga,” while benefiting tremendously from the presence of its lead singer and her delicate manner of delivery, feels as big as a skyscraper not because of the verses it contains, but instead because of the stylishness with which they’re offered to the audience. The instrumental integrity of this piece would have been enough to win my favor as a critic but coupled with these pipes it’s an outright masterpiece.
Fobi isn’t using lyrics as her exclusive means of expressing a narrative to the audience in “Zigiyaga,” but simply using the words as a jumping-off point to construct a mood through the melodies surrounding them. She’s molding every part of the harmonies in this track with her voice, which isn’t something I can say for a lot of pop singers, nor the new content they’re pushing out at the start of 2022. Many of her contemporaries would do well to take a page out of her book here and focus on developing centerpieces that foster a more complete, full-bodied master mix.
There’s really nothing big enough to beat the dominant swing of the percussion in this single, which is why every melodic element is somewhat made to shadow the moves of the drums from one verse to the next. Fobi likes to strut as a singer, and if this weren’t the case I don’t think she would be coming into this track with the kind of audible swagger she’s got in both the music video and the song by itself. She’s got every reason to be confident, and those who would disagree clearly haven’t heard this material for themselves yet.
I appreciate the lack of overindulgence on both the vocal and instrumental ends here, but it’s important to note that Fobi isn’t bleaching the arrangement of color. She’s letting the instruments do what they should in this track with regards to giving her lyrics solid footing, but theatrics and camp – both of which are becoming quite the disturbing standard attributes in a lot of pop nowadays – are not a part of this equation at all. I’ve always found them unnecessary, especially for a singer of this caliber, and evidently, I’m not the only one of this belief.
Sophisticated and yet still quite vulnerable in tone, Mirabelle Fobi’s “Zigiyaga” is a wonderful addition to any late winter playlist, and perhaps just the start of a string of hits this singer and songwriter could produce in the right circumstances this year. She has enough competition to form a small country, but with the elegance of her vocal and the dynamite dynamics she has with the hook in this single, I have a gut feeling that she isn’t going to face a lot of the same adversity in scoring with listeners and critics that some of her rivals across the globe will.
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