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WPGM Recommends: Marie Naffah – Golden State (EP Review)

Emerging alternative pop singer songwriter Marie Naffah released her debut EP Golden State on the 9th of April via US-based independent music label Frictionless Music. The EP is a four track counting piece of soulful art influenced by a life-changing trip Marie took across America’s West Coast.

The now London-based singer songwriter writes from experiences and emotions and knows full well how to translate those feelings into beautiful songs. Marie Naffah joins the dots between Florence + The Machine and Aretha Franklin, and she does it with grace and her own personal twist by using insightful wordplay and simple yet grooving soundscapes.

Marie has been releasing singles since 2018 and with Golden State, she brings some of her previously releasing singles together! The EP counts four tracks, of which one is the previously released single “Wasteland”.

The song is a warm and laid back catchy alternative pop song with a soundscape that gives Marie’s low pitched and unadorned voice all the space to shine. Its well-balanced mix makes for a soothing sound that shows off Naffah’s natural talent to create welcoming and inartificial songs.

About her debut EP and its’ coming together, Marie said: “It feels awesome to be releasing this EP because the individual songs really feel like they were born, and belong, together. The songs are multi-layered memories of my trip to the West Coast of America: the going, the coming home, the exhaustion and the exhilarating revitalisation that comes with an adventure. There’s a song for every mood”.

“Wasteland” is the third track on her EP, and the single allows the four songs on Golden State to flow naturally into one another. Starting off with light-hearted and almost poppy “The Cage”, Marie brings a happy-go-lucky and simple sound to the table that is a welcome introduction to her refined pop sound and clean vocals.

“The Cage” is unhurried and nonchalant yet seriously poetic and its rich and friendly touch make it the perfect opener of Naffah’s debut EP.

Marie continues with chill-hop jazz-influenced “California”, which delivers an empowering message of love wrapped in captivating lyricism and a groovy soundscape. Despite the almost commercial vibe of “California”, Marie’s vocals bring a bunch of uniqueness to her already captivating sound.

“California’s” lyrics are the most outstanding out of those of all four tracks on the EP, layered and supported by soothing harmonies. “California” is followed by brand new track “Cold Water”, the last track on the EP and a luscious soulful love song that is possibly the best example of Marie’s show-stopping vocals.

All four tracks on the EP have given the emerging songstress the space to grow and evolve into the artist she is on her way to be. About that she said: “I found my sound making this EP. You spend your life trying to answer ‘what genre is your music’ and whilst making this record I felt liberated as a songwriter to borrow from all the genres that influenced me.

So if ‘The Cage’ was electro-pop, ‘California’ has jazz and a hip-hop beat, ‘Wasteland’ is a rock and indie-pop anthem and ‘Cold Water’ is a big, swooning love song, heavily influenced by The Beatles’ ‘Something’ and Aretha Franklin’s ’Natural Woman’. Unified through my vocals, it feels rad to have made a sound that is uniquely mine. I’m not deliberately breaking the rules, I’m just doing what feels right for me”.

Golden State has been recorded with Neil Comber (Florence + The Machine, Glass Animals, Charli XCX), Matt Colton (Arctic Monkeys, Christine and the Queens) and Simon Byrt (Pixx, Charlotte OC, Babeheaven), which shows in the smooth production of this work of art.

Besides the impressive collaboration she was able to bag this early in her career, Marie was named MTV’s ‘Unsigned Artist of the Year’ and with Golden State proves how worthy she is of that title!

Marie Naffah’s Golden State EP is out now via Frictionless Music, purchase it here and stream it below.

Words by Laura Rosierse

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