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Live Review: Clarissa Mei opens up on terrific debut single, 'Vulnerable'

20 February 2018 | 10:13 am | Emma Jones

I'm a big fan of debut singles. I think they make such a statement when done correctly, and when someone pulls it off effectively, its impact is unrivalled in announcing exactly who the artist is and what they're about. This is exactly what we have here with CLARISSA MEI, who has arrived in spectacular fashion with her debut single, 'Vulnerable'.

Speaking of the single, she said that she initially intended on a different single to release as her debut, but thanks to a train ride home, she wrote all the lyrics, showed her engineer and the rest is history - and they made the correct decision. Showcasing Mei's stunning voice, powerful and rich in vulnerability and emotion, 'Vulnerable' is about the world's problem with the need to put on a brave and happy face, even when you're feeling exactly the opposite. Saying you're fine when you're not, hiding your emotions, not wanting people to think you're a "sad little girl" as Mei sings; it can be hugely exhausting resisting vulnerability, and Mei asks the question, why is it so wrong anyway?

With crisp beats and soulful piano chords, the sparse production gives Mei the space to soar and feel, practically begging at the end, "Why do I have to fake my smile?" Unafraid of really laying it all out, Mei's lyrics and voice serve as a form of catharsis as she describes a universal problem in such a personal and intimate way. She's put to song an issue we all face, but instead of offering up empty platitudes or saying, "everything is going to be okay," she opts for leaving the questions open-ended, allowing us to answer ourselves.

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An impactful debut single from start to finish, 'Vulnerable' has me incredibly excited to hear what else she's got in the bag. Having worked with ANTONIA GAUCI for mixing and ANDREW EDGSON for mastering, Mei is in good company as she gears up for a big year. Having already played at THE PLOT last year and playing at SECRET GARDEN FESTIVAL this weekend, she's onto a really good thing here. I can't wait to hear more.

Words by Emma Jones