Arlissa is a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from the UK. She also kind of just hit the jackpot.
Having finished her A-levels in the UK (US readers–that’s like the SATs, but like, harder), the up-and-coming London-based singer was only recently recovering from a break-up with her first boyfriend and sorting out her life (TOO REAL) when she cut a track called “Hard To Love Somebody.” The song’s producer, The Fearless, started talking up the track to a publisher, who then passed it on to Nas.
Here comes the jackpot part.
Apparently, Nas loved it so much so that not only did he decide to lay down a few verses on the original, but he flew Arlissa out to LA just to meet the lucky songstress. Jackpot! And thus, a duet (and a video!) was born. Oh, right–and her ex? A massive Nas fan. Too genius, right?
Gliding on top of a swaggering midtempo beat colored by dramatic strings and piano chords, “Hard To Love Somebody” falls in line with other emotive singer-rapper collaborations of the past few years (which are, more or less, all penned by Skylar Grey–including Rihanna and Eminem‘s “Love The Way You Lie” and Diddy Dirty Money‘s “Coming Home”)
“It’s hard to love somebody, when there’s no more left to give/Oh, you took away my sunshine, now rain is all there is,” Arlissa soulfully cries out above the swirling production. I really love Arlissa’s voice–it’s like a melodic blend of Lily Allen and Dido–and that chorus is just endlessly infectious.
The track will be released on September 30–featuring remixes by 88 Keys and The Nextmen, ahead of her debut LP in 2013. Another addition to the One to Watch in 2013 list? Check!