Artist Watch: Shanaz Dorsett

Friday, October 10, 2014


Storytelling in music is something that warms my little bibliophile heart. Some of my most favored songs have characters, settings, and narratives that just leap from the melodies to where they play like short stories, taking me, the listener, into a embellished reality. Singer/songwriter Shanaz Dorsett had me at her OkayPlayer interview where she dished about herself (loved her response to how old she was), and what sparked the inspiration behind Mother Tongue, her debut EP. Dorsett, a South London native, details that Mother Tongue is her exploring and questioning the inner workings of family, class, and gender, all while she revels in soulful and boom-bap fancy, it aglow with her velvety coos.

When I covered Dorsett over at SoulBounce, I was charmed at how Dorsett crafts Mother Tongue as a sort of musical novella on coming-of-age. Whether she's dishing about first love ("AirMax 90") or is trying to understand the parental dynamic ("Daughter Karma") all while coming into her own personal brand of womanhood ("Big People's Business"), she's weaving these tales not just to tell, but to find the answers within herself in order to evolve. That's pretty 'literary-esque' if you ask me.

Her current single, "Four Walls & A Garden" is a cheeky little tune that details domestic bliss, but if you peel off the flowered wallpaper you will discover how frayed and soiled it is underneath. Its vivid music video is well worth the view as Dorsett comes off as a flirty Jill Scott or Emily King, showcasing her knack for planting her tongue to her cheek as she looks at the distorted world around her. While Mother Tongue is righting all kinds of weekly wrongs at current, consider me excited for more of Shanaz Dorsett's visual color splashes and narrative driven tunes.

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