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Live Review: PREMIERE: Clarissa Mei levels up on her honest 'Vulnerable' EP

29 March 2019 | 10:24 am | Caitlin Medcalf

It's a big day for Western Sydney's CLARISSA MEI. The RnB artist has been busy honing her craft for the better part of the last two years, and today, she's released her debut EP out into the world, and we've got the first taste of it here at Purple Sneakers.

Featuring two already released singles, the title track 'Vulnerable' and 'Point Of View', the five-track EP allows for Mei to thrive in every aspect of her creative pursuits; as a singer, songwriter and producer.

'Can't Breathe' kicks off the EP, a lone kick ushering us into a dreamy atmosphere. Swirling with nostalgic synths and careful harmonies, her voice, as smooth as caramel, leads us blindly into the fog. The track details the feeling of breathlessness and the anxiety that comes with meeting someone who takes your damn breath away. There's an air of confidence about the track that feels like the perfect introduction to the release, and that feeling remains consistent throughout the entire body of work.

Track two is the title track and single, 'Vulnerable'. Putting both her production skills and vocal range on show here, the closest sonic comparison that comes to mind is SZA, who similarly pairs her emotionally charged vocals with lush, minimal electronic production.

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'Worthy' sits smack bang in the middle of the EP, giving us a downtempo moment of solitude. This one's about embracing yourself and telling yourself that you are worthy. Vocally, this is a huge moment on the release, allowing for Mei's vocals to not only shine, but to tell the story that she's carefully put together. The keys warble quietly in the background, but it's the textures of the sounds that she's built that really add depth to the track. By building it up and taking sounds away, the track ebbs and flows in the best possible way.

Track four is 'Confidence', and it kicks off with a flurry of static noises, allowing Mei to flex her skills as a producer before the marimba-esque key comes in. That stamp of confidence established in the first track rings true in this one, so much so that the title track reflects that feeling.

'Point Of View' closes out the record, Mei opting for broken percussion with a slight industrial kick to it. Vocally, this is the strongest moment on the record, and the best way to close it out. 'Point Of View' feels like a summation of the themes and sounds explored on the record, and makes for a beautifully lasting track.

From listening through the five tracks from start to finish, it's extremely evident just how much Mei has put into this record. There's never a moment where it feels as though anything is lacking or missing, it just feels completely whole from start to finish. Of the release, Mei said "The EP reflects parts of me that I have made most vulnerable to the world. These songs are my most honest and authentic realisations envisioned into one full body of work".

Clarissa Mei's Vulnerable EP was launched last week at Freda's Down Under Space to a sold out crowd. The EP is officially out now.

Photo by Laura Ranola