From her upcoming EP Fever Dream, South London artist Lia Rye gives us a sneak peek of what’s to come with her new single Habits. Listeners are immediately captivated by brooding guitars that are underpinned with assertive, poppy piano chords that echo rock and pop fusions from the 80s. Lia Rye’s Brit School training is pronounced as she sure knows how to build suspense with layering instrumentation before her bold vocals ‘I had a dream’ cut into the reverie she has just crafted for us. You’d be mistaken if you thought this cavernous voice belonged to a mature artist who has experienced many years of the world’s woes and wonders, but in fact, Lia Rye is a young woman of 18 and has a voice that transcends her tender years. Rye’s voice emerges as a power that commands the reader’s attention. She crucially understands the art of vocal restraint as she demonstrates to the listener that it can be far more effective than a continuous display of vocal stretches.
As the song soars with increasing layers of pounding drums, piano, and Rye’s impressive vocals, we are reminded that this is an artist that doesn’t subject herself to one genre and playfully dances between rock, pop, and the alternative. Rye is generous with her poignant lyrics, ‘I’ve lost my grip on me,’ which reflects on a feeling that is not only relatable but also allows us to glimpse at the vulnerability that lurks just below the surface. Yet by the chorus, we know that this isn’t someone who is willing to succumb to these vulnerabilities.
This South London artist succeeds in holding the tension until a cathartic release during the middle 8, which is definitely fit for a festival set and made for a crowd to sing back in attempted harmony, rejoicing together in shared defiance ‘I’ll never be what you want me to be’. Despite her powerful vocals, lyrics like this keep her storytelling sincere and raw. Rye concludes Habits by revealing that she no longer cares what people think of her and expels the impossibility of being able to live up to people’s expectations of her and instead chooses to build her own reality. I, for one, can relate to this self-renaissance and honesty, and what’s more, I can’t wait to catch Lia Rye performing in 2022, which is set to be a promising year for this rising artist.