Ghostbird by Zee Avi on Apple Music

12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Picking up where her charming 2009 debut left off, Zee Avi delivers another set of sunny and relaxed folk pop that revolves around her lovely vocals. For this release she had more time to devote to songwriting and arranging (with help from producer Mario Caldato, Jr.) and it pays off with interesting and nuanced songs. The first several are sweetly-strummed ukulele and acoustic guitar numbers that are textured with strings, piano, and percussion, and she sings in her native Malaysian dialect, backed by a light bossa nova beat, on “Siboh Kitak Nangis.” But before the tropical vibe of the first five tracks lulls you into a haze, Avi mixes things up halfway through, proving that she’s more than just a pretty voice. “The Book of Morris Johnson” has a chirpy synth beat and odd samples, the muted horns and walking upright bass of “Madness” has her showing off some jazzy vocal phrasing, and the a cappella-driven “Concrete Wall” is the album’s anomaly that may also be its catchiest track. By injecting a few surprises on Ghostbird Avi sets herself apart from the crowded coffeehouse-folk genre.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Picking up where her charming 2009 debut left off, Zee Avi delivers another set of sunny and relaxed folk pop that revolves around her lovely vocals. For this release she had more time to devote to songwriting and arranging (with help from producer Mario Caldato, Jr.) and it pays off with interesting and nuanced songs. The first several are sweetly-strummed ukulele and acoustic guitar numbers that are textured with strings, piano, and percussion, and she sings in her native Malaysian dialect, backed by a light bossa nova beat, on “Siboh Kitak Nangis.” But before the tropical vibe of the first five tracks lulls you into a haze, Avi mixes things up halfway through, proving that she’s more than just a pretty voice. “The Book of Morris Johnson” has a chirpy synth beat and odd samples, the muted horns and walking upright bass of “Madness” has her showing off some jazzy vocal phrasing, and the a cappella-driven “Concrete Wall” is the album’s anomaly that may also be its catchiest track. By injecting a few surprises on Ghostbird Avi sets herself apart from the crowded coffeehouse-folk genre.

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About Zee Avi

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 of her friends couldn't attend one of her shows, Avi made a recording of the performance and posted it on YouTube. This marked the beginning of Avi's YouTube career; the video garnered some positive feedback, and Avi went on to post more and more videos.

Singer/songwriter Kris Rowley stumbled across one of Avi's videos soon after she started posting; Rowley took a liking to the videos, and in turn started posting Avi's clips on his YouTube channel. The buzz just kept growing over the course of the next year; by the time she posted the song "No Christmas for Me" on her channel (this was her self-proclaimed "last video" on YouTube), Avi found herself swamped with offers from interested record labels. Among these was an e-mail from Monotone Records' Ian Montone, who had discovered Avi's YouTube recordings by way of Patrick Keeler, drummer for the Raconteurs. Avi signed with Monotone Records/Brushfire before 2008 was out, and her self-titled debut album was released on the label during the spring of 2009. The record was a hit in Asia, reaching gold status in Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia, and Avi followed its success with 2011's Ghostbird. ~ Margaret Reges

  • ORIGIN
    Miri, Sarawak, Borneo
  • BORN
    1986

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