As Nicole Chambers‘ introduced on her Twitter, “For all the Virgos, r&b lovers, and anyone who has experienced heartbreak and self- growth – this album is for you.” The record that she’s referring to is obviously Voice Of A Virgo.
The album opens with ‘Callin Me Out’, a luscious recording of Nicole Chambers’ nurturing vocals over a rich piano; this one has a live feeling and presents the raw elements of Nicole’s record, which makes it the perfect first track. From there we’re led into ‘Warm Body’, in which those open, reverby piano chords supporting the intimate atmosphere of this standout single. It’s one that Nicole has shared her thoughts on:
“I wanted to feel loved by someone who couldn’t fully love me. I was just a temporary void that needed to be filled, and we both knew that. I didn’t want to admit it to myself at the time but I was just a warm body. When I wrote this song in summer ’17, I knew that I was ready to release myself of old patterns and habits, so that I could finally put myself first. Many of us stay in bad situation-ships because we are so afraid of being alone, but that shouldn’t be enough of a reason to invest your energy, your love or your time into someone who refuses to do the same”
The Brampton, Ontario based artist already hinted towards this theme of personal knowledge and growth with single ‘I’m Fine’, which came shortly ahead of this album release. In that, you hear Nicole Chambers meditate on insulating your emotions and putting on a brave face for the world. It’s also an idea that pops up again in ‘Caution Sign’; this title refers invokes to cautious, pre-planning nature of the Virgo star sign, something which Nicole evidently is deeply connected to. These two tracks might share a lyrical core, but they’re quite different in style. ‘I’m Fine’ is a breezy, future-soul RnB track whereas ‘Caution Sign’ takes old school RnB energy and blends that with dancehall and afrobeat, accentuated by a featured verse by Sol’s Jurny.
Dropping off from the high energy of ‘Caution Sign’, we dive into reflection with Nicole Chambers as she solemnly sings over piano, synths and ticking percussion in ‘Love Me, Like I Love You’. It’s a stream-of-consciousness moment that reveals the value of self-love and how that affects your relationships with others. This state of introversion, that comes so naturally to Virgos and deep-thinkers, continues of into the ‘Women In Me’ interlude.
From this we’re into Nicole’s phoenix from the ashes moment as she rises up in ‘Distance’. As she sweetly sings, “I’ve gotta clear my head of you, focus on my needs, even though I want you,” which shows how a refined level of self-awareness and self-care. With all that’s going on in the world right now, we could all take a leaf from Nicole’s notebook, and perhaps for that reason, she peppered in mention of “social distance”.
By the same stroke, ‘All Dressed Up’ also sees Nicole Chambers mirroring that self-respect as she looks back in hindsight on a classic “situationship” scenario. On a musical level, we also love that electronic guitar with its brushed lofi textures making this such a soothing listen. With that, we feel the need for little pick-me-up and that’s where the chunky bass and beats of ‘Come Correct’ step in to give us that head-bopping opportunity. Also, if you need to feel like the goddess that you are for four minutes, then you absolutely turn the volume up on this one.
Okay, be ready, because we’re onto our favourite track of the album – ‘Part Time Lover’. This recording has such a feel-good swagger thanks to that funky bass line and punching percussion, not to mention Nicole Chambers’ queen energy. “Don’t wanna be a part time lover for you, you better keep on moving”, sings Nicole in that golden tone with absolute conviction. You might think that you’ve figured this song out, but then a two minutes there’s a sumptuous break-down in which the tempo is slowed right down to a saunter and Nicole’s vocal stretches on to the horizon.
Nearing the end of the twelve-track record, Nicole Chambers has done something which is increasingly popular in an artist’s collection, shared a spoken word piece. Think about Jordan Mackampa and his conversation with his mother in Foreigner LP or that wonderful poem in Loyle Carner’s Not Waving, But Drowning LP. Well just ahead of the closing track, Nicole speaks about her journey of self-growth in the inspiring ‘VIRGOS’, which really shouldn’t be skipped if you truly want to understand the motivation behind her album.
It’s a title-track that Nicole Chambers’ has chosen to complete her beautiful debut album, oh yeah, did we forget to mention that it’s her debut – very impressive. ‘Voice Of A Virgo’ is another return to the cosmic combination of voice and piano and it’s truly one of healing. Using that wondrous voice of hers and ability for writing empathetic songs, Nicole reaches out to the listener and perhaps also to her past self, letting them know that yeah, times are tough right now, but they’ll get better and you’ll be just fine.
With that, we invite you to listen to Nicole Chambers first landmark album, Voice Of A Virgo LP.
Follow Nicole Chambers: