Szjerdene (Jhur-DEEN)

Unknown-1Szjerdene is a British RnB/Soul singer whom I highly recommend. She is currently touring the world with Bonobo (Simon Green and his band). His laid-back jazz guitar and her passionate yet chill voice create such a wonderful synergy – although her independent music is addictive as well. For instance, her song “Lead the Way” is electronic sounding with the classical catchy RnB rhythmic motive as well as a funk beat (uses the high-hat on beat 3). It’s moving – literally.

Aside from the catchy style itself, Szjerdene’s vocals are entrancing. My first encounter with her was on a NPR event my music professor had us watch. I had just listened to a bunch of “okay” songs by other musicians and I was getting pretty bored… and then I listened to First Fires. The song itself is a jewel, but specifically Szjerdene herself captivated me: her smooth vocals, the loveliness of her British pronunciations, and the understated, soulful tension. Not to mention that she has copious overtones.

The understatement is what defines her and sets her apart from other soul singers. Most will sing with their entire self and give all the volume and power their voice has. Szjerdene has a whole lot of potential for belting (judging by her wide range of overtones), yet she doesn’t. She holds back so that whatever theme/thought/feeling she is communicating has so much more strength.