There are roughly a billion and one reasons why I love Miss Wynter Gordon.
Not only is she a talented vocalist, incredible lyricist and a ferocious live performer, but she’s an artist whose passion is genuinely palpable within her music. (Oh, and she’s got some pretty good tunes too.)
Now, she’s about to embark on her most ambitious passion project yet.
After releasing her phenomenal 2011 debut With The Music I Die, a collection of club anthems and surging dance-pop cuts like “Til Death,” “Still Getting Younger” and “Buy My Love,” the NYC-based songstress revealed to Billboard that she’ll be putting a pause on the dirty talk to self-release 4 EPs of new material, together called The Human Condition. The first of the collection, Doleo (that’s Latin for “pain”), drops on July 9.
Each EP will explore a different emotion (look for “love and lust” next) and sees Gordon exploring all sorts of genres that go beyond her dance-pop niche, with all the songs written by Gordon. “Doleo”‘s lead single “Stimela”, for example, was inspired by Hugh Masekala’s anti-apartheid song of the same name and features a chorus sung in Zulu and African-pop production reminiscent of early-80s Genesis and solo Phil Collins. Elsewhere, Gordon explores rock, trip-hop and what she calls “down-south hip hop and Celtic, classical music” that delves into deeper thematic material than the bubbly dance cuts for which she’s best known.
“The music I’m making now is music I’ve always made, I’ve just never been able to release it on a label,” Gordon tells Billboard. “I was growing into this person I am now, and I had to make the music that felt right and was passionate about. I didn’t feel like I was singing everything I wanted to sing, doing dance music and pop music. I wanted to make something that felt real to me. These EPs include every genre of music I like. I really just felt like I had to by myself.”
Let’s allow all of that to marinate for just a moment: Four new EPs. For free. “Down-south hip hop and Celtic, classical music.”
Fearing change? Well, don’t. “Stimela,” the first track from the first EP, was released along with the news yesterday…and it’s absolutely stunning. Truly, one of the best things I’ve heard this year.
Like a cross between Phil Collins‘ iconic “In The Air Tonight” and the spellbinding, tribal quality of a Florence + The Machine anthem, the song finds Wynter pouring out emotion like never before above minimal drum patterns and sparse, ambient electronica. As with proper Wynter production, the lyrics are incredible as well: “I got blood on my hands/I stood by and watched you dance with the devil/I settled for bronze and gold/I sold out, I sold my soul,” she cries out above the pounding drums. And that chorus sung entirely in Zulu? Shivers, every single time.
With four new releases on the way, upcoming gigs at “hole-in-the-wall clubs” (“I still feel like it’s paying my dues,” she explained to Billboard) and plans to launch her own record label called The Flying Unicorn, there’s going to be plenty of Wynter in store for the rest of the year.
And for those bemoaning the loss of a dance floor diva, fear not: She plans to return to her dance-pop roots eventually. But for now, Wynter’s paving her own path and proving just how much depth and versatility she has to offer as an artist.
And if The Human Condition is even half as inspired and enchanting as “Stimela,” I’m more than willing to take a break from the dance floor with Wynter.