“Simple” the latest single by Australian musician and songwriter, Stephh V formerly, known as Stephh Versace, is a marvelously expressive and sensual audio experience, painted largely with two palettes of nearly infinite range – smooth electronic instrumentation, and Stephh V’s incredibly melodic sing-song rap voice. There’s enough poetry to make her lyrics meaningful, but she has a somewhat no-nonsense way of capturing metaphor which is refreshing rather than obfuscating.
Stephh V’s low to mid notes have a breathy quality without losing the pure tone of her voice, and that’s where the beauty is in her flow. As with many great performers, it’s not in the moments of heightened drama, the crescendos and top of the voice shouting, that you can see the true mastery, but in the quieter moments when the performance technique is all there is.
Those moments seem so simple but are where lesser performers have nothing to hang their art onto, and falter. Stephh V is magical in those quieter almost soulful moments on “Simple”. If you don’t care about what labels apply when you listen to good music, you’ll find Stephh V fascinating.
A quick run through her back catalog and you’ll notice that she’s managed to seem almost willfully different yet increasingly-accomplished. “Simple”, her newest, is an urban tour de force of the best kind. Much as it tries to be quirky and difficult, by blending styles that run from R&B to Neo-Soul, and Pop to Rap, it is in fact a wonderfully accessible and satisfying listen.
For those seeking slinky and emotive electronica “Simple” is a beautiful amalgam of shimmering keys and bouncing basslines, as producer MixtapeSeoul gradually builds the funky soundscape into a hugely captivating coda. There’s just something about those keys that make them almost edible, if that were possible.
It’s warm, fresh sounding, and totally reinvigorating. Capturing the peaks of ecstasy brought on by these gently resonating sounds, Stephh V rides the beat elegantly. This is assured stuff, the sort of thing that happens when an artist steps into the studio with a little cred and confidence in her pocket.
The sonic wizardry makes “Simple” lap itself; there’s so much electronic beauty in there that it comes off sounding organic – it’s uniformly gorgeous; beat and vocals included. Stephh V’s vocals remain a sweet, stirring center throughout the song, as she keeps her floating, dipping and diving voice, upfront and in the center of the mix.
This song has such an impressive, polished sound that it’s hard to believe it is an independent recording by and underground artist. But there is fine songwriting and production craft at work throughout, making it incredibly easy to get lost in.
The entire work is infused with Stephh V’s personal style that sounds like nobody but herself. In fact, offhand, I couldn’t think of any other rapper or hip-artist that sounds quite like Stephh V does. “Simple” is a noteworthy single release, from an artist who seems poised to bring something even bigger in the future.