A wisp of dread hung in the air as Nicole Saphos stepped onto the stage. Her music, a harmonically bold and rhythmically driven amalgamation of Fiona Apple and Dirty Projectors, seemed to draw the audience into a musically-induced trance. It was as if a force from beyond the depths of time was beckoning their souls….
No! we are not writing about an old icon from the 70s. We are referring to Nicole Saphos, Philadelphia-based singer, songwriter and general icon, championing a unique style that draws inspiration from the classic to formulate its own blend of jazz, soul and folk-rock. Debuting in 2020 with a live session EP, Saphos now returns with the first release towards a debut album ‘Figure of Eights’, arriving later this year. ‘Keepin’ Eyes’ is a wonderful slice of organic musical goodness, the kind of arrangements you hardly find around anymore.
On a bed of eclectic rock’n’roll, with soul and RnB tones, Nicole sparks the flame of her own vocals, exhibiting intriguing poignancy and the ability to speak directly to the listener. Evocative yet controlled, Saphos’ vocal tone tells a tale of patterns and compulsive behaviours, describing the song from the perspective of a partner who seeks control by obsessively watching and controlling the relationship.
Overall, a wonderful single debut by Nicole Saphos, who’s certainly one of the most original and wholesome acts we have heard in a long time. Recommended!