Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we focus our gaze on Starvon, a rising songwriter and producer based in Los Angeles. Her new tune is ‘Is Anyone Listening,’ a poignant piece featuring vocalist Kelsey Jane that touches on the social stigma of addiction. Immediately, I was taken with Starvon’s desire to enter a realm of unpredictable content and brutal honesty. Let’s dig right into the song.
‘Is Anyone Listening’ is heartbreaking, honestly. ‘Please help me - is anyone listening?’ Kelsey croons while an electronic-tinged soundscape builds around her with increasing atmosphere. The song does an elegant job of capturing the helplessness of addiction. That’s entirely attributed to Starvon’s lyricism and Kelsey’s delivery. The former is tactful and the latter is passionate - a killer combo.
The song walks a peculiar line because it’s also catchy and likable - Starvon’s soundscape is one of intriguing content and masking instrumentation. (The music doesn’t necessarily match the lyrical content.) I actually really dig this. It reminds me of acts like Joy Division that would tackle tough issues and taboo subjects with danceable, enjoyable music. Historically, that was actually a response to the mindlessness of disco. Artists wanted to pen songs that were still fun at the club, but had some real depth to them. That’s a bit what Starvon has done in a way.
Starvon’s production is quite solid as well. Light string sections match electronic beats and a reverb-filled landscape. There isn’t anything left field or dramatic - the composition just accentuates Kelsey’s delivery. That delivery is consistently excellent throughout. She’s a real talent, as is Starvon.
Thus, ‘Is Anyone Listening’ earns the Independent Spotlight’s stamp of excellence. It’s a great track that balances the weight between meaningful, intellectual writing and pop-oriented instrumentation. Check it out on SoundCloud below and follow Starvon on her site and on Twitter.