Female crooners have been surfacing like flowers in spring. Malaysian singer songwriter Zee Avi reminds that—when paired with an acoustic guitar or even better a ukulele—a small, unpretentious voice can be shockingly beautiful. Her voice is grainy yet smooth and nonchalant—sexy, without trying too hard. Her music brings to mind early Ella Fitzgerald, Carla Bruni, and Little Joy. She also adds to the bundle of babes who can write. With lovely and simple lyrics she presents us with worlds of feeling: “Honey Bee” is a delicate song about isolation, companionship, and the sweet sighting of freedom. While her album is certainly more than background music, it is perfect for a quiet afternoon of cooking, a night of painting on the floor. Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records spotted her on YouTube and produced her 2009 self-titled album. It is purely charming.
Also check out local Leah Siegel whose jazz and blues influences have given her insane voice that same particular twang. The song “Pin Down” is a breathtaking display of her vocals; her dreamlike imagery is dark but whimsical (think Beach House). Though Siegel’s solo album is more rock inspired, now and then she sings with blues band The Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout. Try to check out a live performance. If you’re lucky, she’ll floor you with her surprising rendition of “Pain in My Heart.”
Bio: Kristen Brunelli is an intern at Guernica. Read her last recommendation here.