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Zee Avi

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Album Review

The story behind the release of Zee Avi's self-titled debut album is very much a 21st century tale. The Borneo-born, Kuala Lumpur-raised singer/songwriter began posting songs on YouTube at a friend's behest. Soon after she began to accumulate a fan base, eventually including the head of Monotone Records, who, in tandem with the people at Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records, signed her to a deal. The resulting record is very much in tune with the Brushfire aesthetic, with a warm and cozy sound, intimate vocals, and a general feeling of calm. While her songwriting is strong and she dishes out many fine melodies and perfectly fine lyrics, the real draw is Avi's vocals. Breathy, quiet, and sweet as spring, yet never wandering into cutesy territory, she hooks the listener in right away and never lets go. Songs like "Honey Bee," "Monte," and "First of the Gang to Die" are probably the most beguiling on the album, as they feature only Avi with guitar backing her vocals, but the instrumentation on the remainder never gets in the way (as you might expect from a Brushfire release). It's a very promising debut by an artist who already seems in total control of her gift; the trick now is to maintain the momentum and keep making records this good.

Biography

Born: 1986 in Miri, Sarawak, Borneo

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Whimsical, jazzy singer/songwriter Izyan Allrahman, better known as Zee Avi, landed her first record deal thanks to the buzz generated by her YouTube channel. Avi was born in Borneo in 1986. She moved to Kuala Lumpur when she was 12 years old, and started playing the guitar when she was 17. After completing her studies in fashion design at the American InterContinental University in London, England, at the age of 21 she returned to Kuala Lumpur and started playing live gigs around town. When one...
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Zee Avi, Zee Avi
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