“De’Borah has one of those voices that makes you stop everything and just listen, until you emerge trancelike from the other side wondering whether it felt like a second or a lifetime.”
- Fresh On The Net
In July 2012, De’Borah released ‘A Thousand Tongues’, an EP which has since received airplay on BBC Radio 6Music and BBC Radio Kent. Her next EP, ‘Waiting Games’, continued that run of success with airplay from BBC Radio London, BBC Radio 6Music and XFM. Her latest EP, ‘Chambers On A Sleeve’, could well surpass those successes.
Encouraged by her father who brought her up on a nourishing diet of Gospel music and Stevie Wonder classics, the soulful edge to her music is what sets De’Borah apart from her contemporaries. Couple that with the Joni Mitchell-influenced story-telling and you have a singer-songwriter whose longevity is all but assured. At just 11 years old De’Borah began writing and singing her own songs, before she was given a guitar at the age of 13. Fast-forward to her college days at 16 years old De’Borah was already playing live shows, thinking nothing of the almost vertical learning curve. She has since played live shows across London, New York, Bulgaria and Germany.
Definitive songs like ‘Three Word Phrase’ and ‘Just A Boy’ show that what makes De’Borah special is her uncanny ability to tap into the most fundamental of human experiences: heartache, alienation and burning love. “I have a vulnerability about me,” she says “and I really believe that not only does vulnerability connect with people but it’s quite empowering. That’s what runs through my music.”
De’Borah’s music has justifiably earned her a lot of respect within the industry. Ivor Novello-winning Chris Difford (Squeeze) described her as a “delicate and perfect writer”, while BBC Radio London’s Gary Crowley praised what he calls “a wonderful purity to her voice and songs.” It’s easy to see why she’s earned such praise. De’Borah’s lyrics are captivating, thought-provoking and emotive, she paints vivid, mesmeric pictures with her songwriting that stay with you for days, and her use of imagery and wordplay is so endearing and charming you can’t help but give her your undivided attention.
‘Chambers On A Sleeve’, a play on the phrase “heart on the sleeve”, is a thoughtfully conceived four-track collection, building on some of the themes she’s explored in the past but there’s a new dimension to this release. This time round De’Borah expands upon the idea of the heart being like a home, with each of the four chambers representing a different song, culminating of course in the EP’s closer “The House”. Sonically, it’s a much warmer and fuller sound with a comforting richness about it. Most importantly, this is the first release she produced herself, along with Jesse Hackett (Stones Throw Records, Gorillaz), and this hands on approach has taken us a step closer to hear De’Borah’s music exactly as she wants it to sound.
Balancing softly sung lyrics with powerful songwriting and potent, unforgettable melodies, De’Borah’s are songs that will outlive trends and buzz; they are songs with longevity that will be as potent and relevant in 50 years’ time as they are now.