Elle Casazza’s latest single from the full length album Proof is a deeply felt love song entitled “You” that highlights her facility with a number of styles alongside her willingness to fully throw herself into any musical narrative. She blends together seemingly disparate styles like R&B, pop, funk, and soul into a potent brew sure to win over fans of every age and ilk. Like all great musical talents, the Chicago native was sure about her life’s direction at an early age and has pursued those ends accordingly. The talent is definitely there, but more crucial ingredients are in ample supply as well. Elle Casazza possesses a performer’s natural skill for self-expression, the finesse to dramatize any material, and the discipline to hone her craft to the sharpest possible edge. “You” is an impressive achievement by any measurable scale and promises that her debut album is every bit of the same memorable experience.
We hear much more of the pop and soul side to her character on “You” than anything else. This might have an unusual melodic bent for such flair, but it is clear from the outset that “You” is ballad far, albeit a ballad that doesn’t completely play by the rules. The song runs a little under four minutes and spends the bulk of its running time as a relatively spartan ballad driven by piano and Casazza’s voice alone, but it evolves past the half way point and ends on a particularly rousing note. Casazza’s voice shows a great talent for modulation. She tailors her voice to the muted mood of the song’s first half and exhibits a careful attention to phrasing, but she’s equally capable of ratcheting up the vocal intensity in the song’s second half and end things on a much more dramatic note without sacrificing the aforementioned attention to detail. Naturally, the vocal has top notch material to work with. This is, undoubtedly, a love song of the first order, but it doesn’t deal with some clichéd emotions – instead, the naked vulnerability of Casazza’s lyric and the vocal makes the songwriting stand out as a surprisingly poetic expression from the heart.
Her collaborators turn in an excellent effort. There isn’t any point in this performance when we get the feeling that one of the players is reaching for a moment of instrumental glory or playing too many notes. Instead, these are clearly musicians intent on serving the song and they do with considerable skill and restraint. It’s their focus dovetailing so neatly into Casazza’s own that makes “You” a memorable musical experience, but it’s also the feeling that we are hearing the dawning of something truly magnificent – a musical career certain to change lives for the better and with the staying power to, perhaps, one day occupy an iconic position in our firmament of stars. “You” is a significant and deeply entertaining step in that direction.