Review by Emily Smith
Imagine being in front of the stage of a dimly lit indoor venue, right in front of a band with backing vocalists and a thrilling horns section, all behind the striking presence of the lead singer as she gives a soulful performance that brings the house down. That is the feeling the listener gets when listening to the latest release by Fia Nyxx, Everything Girl. Fia Nyxx gives her R&B/pop style a unique flair by peppering her sound with a soulful Motown vibe that leaves a mark on the audience.
“I knew I wanted an old Motown influence and saw brilliance in the perfect combination of that old soul with the modern dance element I was so used to…” said Fia Nyxx.
What’s immediately striking about this EP is Fia Nyxx’s vocals, which wane between having an emphatic, strong quality to a breathy, lustful one – a kind of performance done beautifully on tracks like “Everything Girl” and “Oh God.” “Oh God” is one lyrically interesting song that sets a mood through the description of a scene. She sings, “Stepping in from the cold/ through the heavy old door/ I light a candle and I whisper a prayer/ like the thousand times before,” which emphasizes her loneliness (added through the description of the scene being “cold”) and hopes that someone will come to her, though she is doubtful. Themes of the Phoenix are recurring on this EP (since “Fia Nyxx” is pronounced like “Phoenix” after all), especially on tracks like “Fire” which illustrate a fire “burning out of control,” and “Moving On” with the lyrics “I wanna move on/ and leave this in the fire/ And I will rise/ like a phoenix from the ashes.”
Many of the tracks include themes of love and loneliness, partly expressed through this desperate, begging tone from Fia Nyxx. Overall, the vocal performances are top-notch throughout the EP. Fia Nyxx’s vocals are technically perfect from front to back on the track “Oh Surrender,” where she holds out a long note during the chorus. Meanwhile, the backing vocals breathe soul into this EP, like at the end of the track “Fire.” Together both the lead and backing vocals complement each other brilliantly throughout the entire EP. On the track “Maybe Just Love Me,” both lead and backing vocals come together towards the end in a memorable performance.
What separates this EP from other pop/R&B acts is the instrumentation. On most of the tracks, there is a horns section that brings an unmistakable flair and excitement to the table, giving it a vintage vibe. The horns on “Everything Girl” especially showcase this through the riveting saxophone solo towards the middle of the track. The saxophone also kicks off the track “Fire,” immediately setting that fiery tone for the rest of the song.
Though much of the EP has an electrifying sound, the track “Maybe Just Love Me” (and its extended version) departs from that sound by starting with only the lead vocals accompanied by the piano. The song gradually introduces a slow drum beat and then the bass. At the end of the song, an electric guitar is added, and the lead and backing vocals come together to create a fuller sound. For most of the song, the instrumentation and vocals are layered on top of one another and each of the different components of the song stands out by themselves.
“Moving On” is one of the boldest tracks on this EP. It starts off with a guitar that adds an element of funk to the song. It has a foot-tapping beat that immediately pulls the listener in and is one of the strongest starts to a track on the EP. In the middle of the song, there is a section that veers away from the original sound of the track, almost as if an entirely different song is being introduced. The instrumentation changes to a more electronic sound, and another vocalist steps in with a hip-hop/R&B leaning performance. This section still utilizes the backing vocals that were present before, which tethers it to the original sound. At the end of the track, the lead vocals transition to more of a spoken style to close out the track.
Everything Girl is a triumphant mix of different genres, and gives captivating performances from front to back. For anyone looking for a departure from most pop/R&B, this is the EP to check out.
Listen to Everything Girl here
Follow Fia Nyxx