Ny – Who Is She (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
IT would be easy just to write off North London’s Ny as another wannabe Rihanna or the UK’s equivalent to Beyonce. But it’s credit to the strength of her music that she emerges from their shadow as a credible artist in her own right.
Debut album Who Is She is very much a pop meets R’n’B collection that should easily appeal to fans of both of those artists. But it’s catchy as hell, very assured and evidence of a rapidly emerging new UK talent.
She has already toured with Plan B, too, meaning that she’s also got good industry support and awareness behind her.
Who Is She is comprised of 13 tracks and is described as a personal statement on the highs and lows that have accompanied this 24-year-old’s rise to prominence, from organising raves at the age of 15 to making mix-tapes that she sold around the West End for £5, and from teaching under-privileged kids how to sing to guesting on a top five hit with Ironik.
Hence, it’s as much the story of a career being built as it is an enjoyable listen, as well as a cheeky commentary on some social trends.
The album starts as it means to go on with the catchy Music, which offers a celebratory crowd-pleaser acknowledging how music is her life, before progressing to the more seductive Be With You, a late night smooth groover that also features a good guest rap from Giggs.
Former single Trophy Boy then emerges to display her pop-meets-R’n’B credentials, wittily reversing how women are frequently portrayed in pop, while Burn It Down changes tone again to offer something more gritty and urban (as a nod to her roots). It’s arguably the track that put her on Plan B’s radar given his harder, grimier sound. But it makes its mark.
Just occasionally, the album gets a little too pop and a little too generic, as on Over or Then I Woke Up but even then the lyrics have an intimacy about them that’s appealing.
Overall, the album is consistently appealing while also being diverse enough to stretch Ny vocally, as on the piano-backed ballad Dark Side.
But she’s arguably at her most appealing when underlining her R’n’B credentials and keeping the beat upbeat and urban tinged. Hence, further faves come in the form of Crazy Love and Need To Know (the latter, especially, bringing the album to a close with some urgent beats and vibrant electronics).
Ny is one to keep an eye on and Who Is She? is a good starting point.
Download picks: Be With You, Burn It Down, Crazy Love, Need To Know, Sea Sick