One to watch: Tara Lily

Motown UK’s first British signing deploys gorgeous vocals on a spellbinding new EP that spans R&B, jazz and Indian classical

With a formidable, liquid vocal that pulls from jazz, soul and some of the melismatic stylings of north Indian classical, the Peckham-born British-Bengali artist Tara Lily, 24, has been turning heads. Her first single, 2018’s Who Saw Who, was produced by grime mainstay Jammer (of Boy Better Know fame) and caught the attention of none other than the American fashion designer Virgil Abloh. Soon after, Lily became the first British artist – and also the first South Asian one – to sign to Motown Records UK, the label’s new subsidiary.

Last year, Lily put out her debut EP, Lost in London, which found the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist leaning into a softer palette, with brushes of piano and flourishes of brass, lyrically ruminating on past relationships. It was promising, albeit slightly overwrought, and her second EP, Last Flight Out, feels like a step up. Lead track Hotel Amour is a densely romantic R&B number, with swirling pianos and yearning vocals; elsewhere, she blends warm nods to UK dance music and more global-facing rhythms (tellingly, she has hosted several shows on Gilles Petersen’s Worldwide FM).

At September’s Dialled In – a new London festival celebrating South Asian creativity – Lily gave a quietly stunning performance, with rippling keys, drums and sitar. Her spellbinding talent is sure to keep heads turned for the foreseeable future.

Watch the video for Hotel Amour by Tara Joshi.

Contributor

Tara Joshi

The GuardianTramp

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