It’s a testament to just how exciting and special a talent Yebba is when she’s already racked up so many famous friends before releasing her debut album. Created, rearranged, and finalized over the course of five years; in the interim Yebba has rapidly turned heads with her limitless vocal talent and surgically precise technique on collaborations with acts like Drake, Ed Sheeran, and Sam Smith. She’s also received some help behind the boards from legendary producers Questlove and main collaborator Mark Ronson. One of the main reasons the project took so long to release was Yebba distancing herself from the chaos of the industry to fully process a loss in the family, which manifests itself lyrically as the album’s major theme and as a striking template for Yebba’s emotive voice.
Yebba’s father works as a preacher, and it’s clear that growing up in church contributed quite a lot to her vocal extravagance, but this album is named after her mother Dawn, who took her own life only weeks after Yebba was first noticed by a major label. As she comes to terms with the loss, the bright, gospel-inspired instrumentals she usually finds herself on become muted. Over sparse, jazzy arrangements, Yebba pens both vividly detailed loving tributes to Dawn and empowered tracks where she searches for and finally discovers the strength to move on without her. She closes out the album with a song where she embodies her mother in her final moments. Yebba offers a vocal masterclass that needs to be heard to be believed, and the heavy themes on top push things over the edge to make it an experience that will likely stick with listeners for a long time.
Best Track: “October Sky”