‘Pages’: Shaznay Lewis, All Saints Icon, Announces First Solo Album in 20 Years

The prolific songwriter and girl group member is going solo again.

Shaznay Lewis is one of the coolest vocalists and most talented songwriters in pop: if you look up the writing credits for a bulk of the All Saints smashes, it’s almost exclusively only Shaznay’s name on there, paired with legends like Cameron McVey (“Never Ever”), William Orbit (“Pure Shores”), Rick Nowels (“Chick Fit”) and Greg Kurstin (“Rock Steady”).

Beyond supporting her own band with her pen, Shaznay’s a real girl’s girl, having done tracks for fellow girl groups Little Mix (“How Ya Doin’?”), Stooshe (“Black Heart”) and the newly reformed Sugababes (“Summer of ’99”), among others.

Now, two decades after 2004’s Open, and a handful of fantastic All Saints reunions and records later, the 48-year-old superstar is stepping out solo once again with her long-awaited sophomore solo album.

It’s called Pages, and it’s due out on May 17.

Per the official release, Pages is “a lush masterpiece of psychedelic soul, cinematic strings and sophisticated R&B that combines her established songwriting with the kind of lyrical wisdom which can only come from experience. Coming from someone blessed with deep vocal expressiveness, someone with an avowed ‘allergy to auto-tune,’ it is also a reminder of what real soul sounds like. Its lyrics often feel like a diaristic confessional, as loneliness, heartbreak and the bittersweet realities of life abound. They come from distant memories of being in such situations and of empathising with others’ struggles, all magnified by the big stage drama that Shaznay loves in music. Collectively it’s a rebirth.”

“I do feel as though I’m starting again, and making this record with some special people has been an exhilarating experience. I felt free for the first time. For this album, myself and the people I worked with were making it for one reason only: to just make music that we felt was good, and for people to take and enjoy. You need to be in the right place and clear headspace to create good work and finally, I had that,” she said of the experience of penning Pages, which began in the summer of 2022.

The album campaign was led by R&B-pop ballad “Miracle,” written alongside writer-producer team Emily Philips and Anthony Whiting, who’s worked with everyone from MIA to Crystal Kay (!), which was just released in January.

“‘Miracle’ was a journey, a relentless writing process between Emily Phillips and me. We pushed each other, we changed it a lot until, and when I finally listened to it I realised it was a love song to myself, about the person I’ve been for the past 25 years and where I am now. It’s a message of encouragement to return to my love of writing with self-esteem, and confidence in the way that made me happy,” she said of the lead single.

And there’s already a follow-up out alongside the album announcement with the same duo, “Kiss of Life.”

I will give you my heart each time, over and over again until I die,” she affectionately pledges on the soaring track. “Count on me.

“I like to talk a lot before we start creating anything. That feels more organic to me; when you are about to open yourself up you need to know the person a bit more. I had some wonderful conversations with Emily. We played with many melody ideas, and once ‘Kiss of Life’ was finished we knew we had something special. I always know what my ears want to hear. The song was written about my children,” she added of the lush follow-up.

It’s a gorgeous, timeless sounding psych-soul tune, vaguely bringing Jessie Ware‘s What’s Your Pleasure? track “Remember Where You Are” to mind, which Jessie has said was inspired by Minnie Ripperton, who also happens to be referenced in Shaznay’s release. (“Both classic and contemporary, its punchy, dubby bass places it firmly in the here-and-now, but the way it wields R&B class and emotion with a glorious pop edge ensures that it will appeal to fans of Shaznay’s most famous work too. Shades of the symphonic soul of ‘70s legends like Minnie Ripperton and Donnie Hathaway complete a track which is clearly a love song, but not of the romantic kind.”) Aural connections! And for being part of the oft-maligned genre of “Mom Pop,” this is an undeniably cool contribution to the genre. Who’s surprised?

There are features on the Shaznay album from Self Esteem, Shola Ama and General Levy, and contributions from Ben Cullum, Michael Angelo, Johan Hugo, Jez Ashurst, Moyses Dos Santos and Charlie Stacey.

Music aside, the album cover itself is also gorgeous.

The campaign visuals were shot by Oscar J Ryan, who had lovely things to say in his own post about the art: “An absolute honour to photograph the iconic Shaznay Lewis, 20 years on from her last solo album. Some things are just worth the wait. Pages is a masterpiece of psychedelic soul, cinematic strings and sophisticated R&B. It’s really fucking good btw. a masterful songwriter, an incredible artist and a beautiful person I’ve loved getting to know over this campaign. extremely grateful to have shot this album artwork and whole campaign. So much still to come in the form in single covers, promo and music videos. thank you so much to everyone involved, it’s been a pleasure start to finish.”

Based on the descriptions, and what we’ve heard thus far, we’re definitely in for a treat.

Pre-order Pages on vinyl and in various bundles right here.

Pages tracklist:

1. “Missiles”
2. “Pick You Up (feat. Self Esteem)”
3. “Kiss of Life”
4. “Good Mourning (feat. Shola Ama & General Levy)”
5. “Supposed To Be”
6. “Got To Let Go”
7. “Tears To The Floor”
8. “Bruises”
9. “Peaches”
10. “Awake (Motu)”
11. “Miracle”
12. “Hearts In Danger”

Check out the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. You can also subscribe on Apple Music.

Photo credit: Oscar J Ryan

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