The words that come to mind when describing haunting vocalist Charlene Soraia, are: unexpected, electrifying, raw and fragile. If spinning into fame with Twinning advert track ‘Wherever You Will Go’ wasn’t startling enough, the keen-eyed lyricist has now recorded her 2019 album entirely from her South London flat, alone, in single takes, without edits or autotune. The result is epitomised in the newly released title track ‘Where’s My Tribe’ – a raw and poignant track, alive with Charlene’s intricate musicianship.
Soraia’s signature is producing stripped down singles with only one or two instrumentals to accompany her shivering vocal work. Previously, Soraia’s voice has wrapped around the grand piano, occasionally weaved between horns and often slides over strings. In ‘Where’s My Tribe,’ the unadorned sound of acoustic guitar provides the surface in which harmonies echo at the chorus and vocals ripple over the surface. It’s an iconic voice that conducts a confident fragility; frail at the peak of high notes and husky in a tenor.
This song about feeling alone in a world where everyone is connected, gets another layer of emotion with the music video for ‘Where’s My Tribe.’ Courtesy of Kojey Radical collaborators The Rest, the video depicts troubled adolescents as they navigate the roller-coaster of their teen years.
The music video sculpts a series of tender close-ups of the youths, shrouded in darkness or weak morning light, from backstage angles. Although the sequence of teens smoking, gathered in front of the television, driving along deserted highways or staring into the distance, is a typical set for a music video; there is still a distinct edge to it. Much like the artist herself, the ‘Where’s My Tribe’ music video has an intense, rare feel to it that you can’t quite put your finger on.
Charlene Soraia has brought us an array of textured tracks since her 2011 debut album ‘Moonchild,’ which was as moving as it was buoyant. There’s a flavour of Billie Marten, Carte Le Bon, Anna Calvi and Gabrielle Aplin to Soraia’s sound, but it belongs to its own category. If you need something to listen to on long tunnel drives, or hungover on a Wednesday: this is it.
‘Where’s My Tribe‘ is the first single to be released from Charlene Soraia’s album, due for release January 2019.