You may well recognise Rina Sawayama from as far back as 2013 and her seductive slow jam ‘Sleeping In Waking’ – or perhaps from 2015’s Jessie Ware-ish ‘Where U Are’ – but 2017 was the year the Niigata-born, London-based singersongwriter showed her true potential. Working with indie-electro oddball Clarence Clarity, Sawayama mischievously played with ideas of “good taste” and distilled influences as diverse as Blackout-era Britney, gaming and Utada Hikaru into one of the year’s most intriguing mini albums. Though broadly rooted in sleek digi-pop, Rina’s diverse productions span from swooning R&B (Shamir-duet ‘Tunnel Vision’) and 80s retro-futurism, complete with fretless bass and hair metal shredding (‘Alterlife’), to powerballads inspired by connected culture (‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’) and the best *NSYNC song that never was (‘Take Me As I Am’). Expect the unexpected in 2018.
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