A heavenly vocal. A sensuous saxophone. A majestic piano’s gentle harmony, forged beside a Latin-flavored guitar. When you take these three elements and put them under the direction of a singer/songwriter like Beatrice Betley, magic is bound to happen, and that’s precisely the case with her new single, “Lullaby.” In “Lullaby,” the newcomer to the indie spotlight puts her vocal abilities at the forefront of the music, striking a rhythm with little more than a pensive drumbeat and the cadence of her verses inside of a four-minute gem (while sounding much more like a veteran than a rookie, in my opinion).
Her voice is always at the center of the master mix, serving as a sonic linchpin binding all of the different instrumental components together in a singular melodic wave, yet she doesn’t overpower her backing band at all. Here, Betley proves that she has the chops to balance melodic complexities with heartfelt lyricism, tipping her hat to the forerunners of the vocal pop genre whilst carving her own identity for listeners to enjoy at the same time.
“Lullaby” is poetically spellbinding, but I wouldn’t say that the words Betley sings to us in this track are the only agent of evocation present. On the contrary, there’s a lot of emotional substance to the relationship between the instruments, particularly when our leading lady steps back to let their jazz-influenced virtuosities take center stage. The strings and the saxophone get into an all-out duel for our affections just past the two-minute mark in the song, and considering the depth that their harmony adds to the lyrics, I don’t think this single would be nearly as engaging were they replaced with simpler instrumental elements.
I can definitely see “Lullaby” being a showstopper in a live setting, where Betley could really flex some muscle behind the microphone (and perhaps stir up even more of the potent chemistry already found in spades here). She’s got an incredible range, and when matched with her ability to fit into an elaborate arrangement like the one found in this song, it makes her quite the rare treasure this spring indeed.
Though I’m just now getting into the music of Beatrice Betley, I’m ready for more of her melodic charms after finding myself utterly swept away by her craftsmanship in “Lullaby.” There are a lot of credible singers coming out of the indie jazz community at the moment, but I personally haven’t heard many boasting the elegant demeanor that this vocalist is from beginning to end here. Her prowess in the studio is something to be praised, and as long as she can continue to produce music with the same amount of passion that she has in her first couple of singles, I think she’s going to have a long career ahead of her.
This is definitely one heck of an introduction to the audience, and with a little more time to develop her sound, it’s hard to see the momentum she’s enjoying right now slowing anytime soon.
by Bethany Page