Singer/songwriters have to work a little harder than their band contemporaries to make a big splash in the American underground these days almost entirely because of how many artists are playing a solo act at the moment, but when Estani starts to sing in her new single “Mr. Personality,” it’s clear we aren’t listening to another player lost in the masses of modern times. Estani’s voice is definitely on the more soulful side of the spectrum, and when she puts it to the urgent beat in this latest release, she verifies her status as a true rising star beyond debate.
One of the first aesthetical underpinnings I noticed in “Mr. Personality” was the presence of a jazzy influence over the groove, and while this isn’t anything new for this artist’s discography, it’s still just as fetching as ever here. Estani likes to experiment with tempo and tone the same, and although she isn’t really treading new water in this performance, she’s rejecting the notion of selling out in the name of a more radio-ready sound. If people don’t notice her depth against this arrangement they’re not listening to her work, and I think other critics are likely to agree with me.
This hook makes “Mr. Personality” the most accessible listen I’ve heard from this singer/songwriter to date, but I don’t think it feels structured around its climax alone. When Estani is reaching the fever pitch here, she’s absolutely approaching at half-speed, as to avoid overwhelming us with her potent melodic presence. If she’s this good in the studio, I can only imagine how amazing she would sound in a live setting where there would be nothing to get in the way of her voice reaching the audience it was intended to satisfy.
Lyrically, Estani isn’t overstepping the personal perspective of her protagonist in this song at all, but instead relying on an insular poetic disposition that really suits her personality quite well. There are a lot of players in her scene trying to bite off a little more than they can chew with their work, especially in the recording studio, and thus, finding an artist of this caliber who not only knows her limits but how to use them to her advantage is quite the boon to anyone who has a strong affinity for the best of what the contemporary singer/songwriter movement has to offer.
If you’ve been hearing a lot about Estani’s music as of late, you’re certainly not the only one, and I easily could have told you before the release of “Mr. Personality” that she’s living up to the name she’s making for herself. She’s legitimately talented and not being aided by synthesized harmonies and over-the-top featured guests that would, at best, only add to the mood of a performance as opposed to a narrative. Estani is very much on the up and up, and this is further evidence of her continuous ascent towards what I believe will be a very simple transition to the mainstream.
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