I don’t know what the weather’s like for you, but Liz Lubega’s new EP The Process is the perfect accompaniment for the warm weather in England as of late. I would describe the vocals and the melody in this collections as romantic and soothing, like scented bath water sprinkled with rose petals. Lubega’s voice is akin to the comfort that us Brits stereotypically (and literally, in my case) find with our noses buried in a warm mug of tea.
This young artist’s sound is soulful with a generous helping of R&B. Final song “Hear Me” reminded me in particular of 90’s R&B, though I’m struggling to place the musician I have in mind (maybe Whitney Houston, who is one of Lubega’s many influences). “Utilising her Gospel music upbringing”, the press release reveals, “Liz combines this blissful sound with one that has a current soulful/bluesy effect – in turn creating her own signature sound”.
According to the artist: “The EP idea was actually birthed about 5 years ago and in that time I have overcome fear, obstacles, as well as my own voice telling me I couldn’t do it or just simply wasn’t good enough. It took a lot of positivity, self-belief and help from loved ones to get here”.
The Process is only thirteen minutes long, which is perfect for those who want to take a short break from reality and relax in a peaceful environment, just like the earthy setting on the EP’s cover.
“Slow Down…” begins first song “Let Your Love”, setting the tone for this soft tune. The main message here is not giving up on love; “I don’t wanna let your love down” is repeated in parts of the song amidst a slow-tempo melody and occasional sounds which are akin to wind or rain. I can imagine walking through a forest with this playing in my ears whilst thinking of a significant other.
Due to the topic and tone, it’s easy to get the wrong first impression of Lubega; the song is pretty soppy, perhaps one that would be played during a couple’s first dance. However, there is more than meets the eye as is shown with next song “Can’t Stop Me Now”.
This track picks up the pace a bit and showcases the determination and strength that flows through Lubega’s veins. The vocals have two tones here: the aforementioned strong and independent one, coupled with the softer, carefree variety; this sends the message that tough cookies can also be sweet.
“Sticks and stones won’t break my bones / Even words won’t hurt my soul”, a different take on the children’s rhyme, are lyrics which are drummed into listeners’ heads, taking on a mantra-like feel during parts of the song. The take-home message, however, is “you can’t stop me now”.
“Is This Love” is next, and it’s got that emotional end-track vibe, yet it’s second-to-last. This is a personal favourite for so many reasons: the lyrics, wordplay, subject matter, melody, sound arrangement…so, in sum, the whole thing is fantastic.
The emotion builds in Lubega’s voice whilst singing: “Are you an angel’s disguise / Or are you just a lie? / You really pulled me in / I’m the fuel, you’re the flame”. The song questions love in more than one way and the potential of getting hurt is very apparent.
“Is this love? / If it is, why does it feel like I’m falling?” This lyric didn’t mean much to me until I thought about it deeper; the phrase “falling in love” is supposed to be positive, but “falling” is generally a negative verb, so perhaps this is a play on the popular phrase. Or it’s just a cute line. Either way, I like it.
The final song is the only one I didn’t feel much of a connection to, though the beat is groovy and the mood is incredibly warm. One thing that makes me pleased with the position of “Hear Me” on the EP is that the title is repeated in an echo as the song ends.
Lubega also told Mobo that “[a]fter spending some time in the background supporting others, it was important for me to put my own messages through music”. I’d say that all artists want to be heard in one way or another, so it was quite apt that the final words were “hear me”.
The genre of The Process isn’t one I’d usually gravitate towards, but it pulled me in and was a pleasure to listen to. Hopefully, you’ll find the same. The EP can be bought on iTunes here. You can also find Liz Lubega on Facebook and Twitter.
Words by Shanade McConney