‘Refreshing’: this is the word that springs to mind hearing Nona, the self-titled debut from this young Dutch artist. Relatively unknown until now, perhaps, but heck, if she hasn’t made a hell of an entrance.
It’s the kind of record you want playing in the background
at twilight, drawing the curtains as you turn in for the night. Maybe it’s
raining softly as you sway in the arms of someone close, or maybe it’s clear
enough to see the stars; I can assure you the weather will be all of irrelevant
just as soon as Nona starts singing. ‘Hold On Me’ is particularly successful in
its serenade, complete with a soft jazz backdrop to make your knees weak and
your heart bleed. Compare this to the likes of ‘Jenny’, however – a soulful,
almost vengeful account of a broken heart – and the singer’s range both vocally
and thematically is made abundantly clear.
Blasphemous though it is to compare a new artist to another, the ghost of Amy Winehouse is very much on my shoulder as I melt into this record. The rumbling soul, palpable emotion and outstanding vocals are at once faintly familiar and still incomparable; Nona is no copy-cat, and there’s no doubt across the thirteen tracks that this album is very much ‘her’.
Reminiscent of classic soul with odes to sounds of our own time, Nona has found a niche corner of the music market that will surely pick up what Amy put down. I certainly hope so, at least.
Haiku Review Blissful neo-soul. Lose yourself in Nona, as All else falls away.