A year or so ago I heard strings. Lonely strings and the words "Bless my soul, I've been alone too long". The lyrics resonated with me there and then due to a sticky fuckboy situation. But the fragile raspiness in the voice, the incredible falsetto and the down scaled use of instruments have stuck with me ever since (the fuckboy how ever - not so much).
The song was Loved by You by KIRBY. Here ya go:
I added the song to a playlist called "Ingen annan rör mig som du", which kinda translates to "Nobody touches me like you". And nothing more happened. I didn't look her up further, this was her only song out on Spotify at that moment (I'm sadly limited to Spotify most of the time, because I'm lazy hello), I was content with this little masterpiece and enjoyed that more of this was ahead of us all. In my world it's a good sign that the music isn't rushed out to be consumed and thrown away.
Over the last year I've been hitting play on "Loved by You" when I've been in the mood for a vulnerable couple of minutes. When I've needed to hear that it's okay to say yes, yes, hell yeah, I wanna be loved by you, not drink seven beers (and shots? Yes, there were shots too) and throw up on my very expensive wool scarf on the bus home. I wanna know how it feels to be loved, not ashamed and drunk and sad. You know the feeling. Just watch and listen to this clip of a live performance in Memphis from earlier this year. Totally down for the all red look here, btw.
But yesterday I was wandering about in the Discover-world on Spotify and happened to hear KIRBY's next single. Let me present to you: Vain.
Vain opens with the sound of an organ and continues with a couple of guitar strokes, along with KIRBY's almost whispering voice. When the first line of the chorus comes, "There ain't no choir", the choir joins in. I see what you did there, one point, a gazillion points. The gospel sound, the relaxed use of instruments (fucking hate it when they squeeze in thousands and thousands of instruments and random sounds in songs? Like no, my head will explode, ma'm), and the occasional breaks of the same to let her voice shine on it's own - it's a win. For a live version click here.
On her instagram KIRBY said she had been nervous to follow up on Loved by You (WHO WOULDN'T?), but obviously there was no need to worry. Resembling but not being a copy pasted edited version of Loved by You, Vain stands on its own. I like a coherent sound, a coherent feeling, without the repetitiveness that makes you think oh, I don't need to hear the rest, I've already heard one. No. I need to hear the rest of this brilliant woman. And so do you.
Oh, and she appears on Tariq Trotter's aka. Black Thought's EP from this year, on the song Thank You. Go ahead, click it, save it.
BUT HOLD ON, you might think. HOLD ON, HOLD ON. The nagging feeling that this is familiar, I've heard this, I've heard her work somewhere, in something I liked before, is driving you crazy by now. Or not. But I will say that you probably will say "Oh, of course" when I say that KIRBY wrote Die With You by Queen B (join the Tidal gang or buy it on iTunes if you want the whole song). She was also a part of the making of FourFiveSeconds and Only One. Ah, it all makes sense.
A quick check on Roc Nation's (Jay-Z's record label FYI, if you've lived under a rock) web page on Kirby Lauryen says that she "sparked a career in songwriting by writing a song a day on YouTube for 275 days. She was signed to Roc Nation on Day 302."
Well, persistence is key, as well as a truly amazing talent. Now go on with your day, night, life to the sound of Loved by You and Vain, and keep an alert on KIRBY for future releases.