Nao – Woman (feat. Lianne La Havas)

New music from Nao? And, it’s a collaboration with Lianne La Havas?! I doubt I’ve ever downloaded a track faster when this dropped just two days ago on Monday. I am such big fans of each of them that, honestly, they could have just hummed together for three minutes or read menus from their favorite takeout joints and I would have been writing about it.

But, thankfully rather than either of those options, they released a banger. A song that drives hard with a steady, throbbing bass and drum track, but that is made equally sultry with Nao and La Havas’s vocals. All I heard on my first listen of Woman was the music; their voices complementing each other so smoothly in the verses, swirling together in the choruses, and the track just nodding along with an upbeat-but-smokey vibe.

On my second listen, I heard the statement of the song. The lyrics to back up the title:

"Baby I'm living in this magic place / 
It's showing me that God's a woman, yeah / 
So maybe you should worship me / 
Yeah, I'm reigning the sky"

Announcing the track release, Nao wrote on Instagram: “I truly believe this is the start of a new dawn where being a woman – esp a woman of colour – can and should be celebrated. This is our time! We all deserve to be celebrated.”

And, celebrate Nao and La Havas do here, with stunning artwork from Tishk Barzanji (@tishkbarzanji) to accompany and make glow the sense of joy, honor, and empowerment this song delivers.

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Lianne La Havas – Bittersweet

Looking for a proverbial port in the storm that is swirling around us all right now? Look no further than Lianne La Havas’s smooth new single Bittersweet. The topic isn’t particularly cheery (personal renewal and a fresh start after a failing relationship) but the vibe is relaxed, the beat is steady, and La Havas’s trademark vocals soar. It is a song to get lost in, which feels like a particular blessing at this moment in time.

As a big, big fan of La Havas, what is more exciting perhaps than her dropping this single is the promise of a new album sometime this year, her first since she released her sophomore record Blood in 2015. That album remains in heavy rotation for me. And, having seen her tour on that record (fun fact: the cover image on In My Ear’s Facebook page is from that show!), I hope a new album also means a new tour because La Havas is one of the best, most natural live performers I’ve seen.

For now, I am more than happy to ride out to this excellent track.

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