Angel is the first song Jacqui Siu released in 2020 and it feels like a consistent effort to explore the mixture of melancholic RnB and electronic music she has been making since her two strong earlier singles, Fluorescent Lovers and Danger. Though Jacqui has kept a relatively low output for the past few years, her new single produced by Rory Noble tells us she is getting better at making electronic sounds stand out in her music. Reckoning that Angel is a song which should not go unnoticed by listeners, NZ On Air Music included it in its NewTracks compilation this December.
My name is Jacqui Siu. I was born in Hong Kong, but I grew up in New Zealand and I currently live in London. I play the piano.
I grew up playing classical piano, up until I did a Bachelor of Music majoring in Popular Music at the University of Auckland, where I started playing jazz piano and growing my songwriting into these alternative R&B tracks. I had the best time there.
I released my debut single Fluorescent Lovers and EP ‘Danger’ a few years back which you may know me from. It was all written and produced in New Zealand. I don’t work with any others, or have a set team. I write a song and then look for producers that I think will fit the song, which is why things can take a long time. I like to find and work with all different kinds of producers from around the world.
I started off writing quite formulaic pop RnB ballads because I was obsessed with all the music of the 2000s. Then when I got into jazz piano I became obsessed with 7ths and added them to basically every chord. Now my main influences are Banks, Sabrina Claudio, Frank Ocean and Daniel Caesar, so the production side has evolved to use more electronic sounds. I’ve always kept the breakups and bad relationship material though…!
I’ve never taken my music large-scale because I just like to write and release music continuously at my own pace. So my highlights are when strangers reach out to me saying they connected with my music. That’s all I need!
Just the process behind it makes it a standout single for me. With Covid-19, things didn’t go as planned, it was hard to keep the momentum up, but Angel became my anchor through it all. There were many highs and lows, but I pushed through and I’m proud of it!
I wrote this song after meeting someone I had this sudden and high chemistry with, but we were both on our own journeys and weren’t ready to give ourselves to anyone. It’s about being at peace with these kinds of situations – even though you wish things were different, or wonder why it isn’t going the way you want it to, you’re always in the right place and transitioning and growing. The word ‘angel’ was the starting point of the song, so it gave me the title straight away. It’s such a nice word to describe someone, so I just wanted to use it.
My favourite moment is the bridge, it encapsulates the whole meaning of the song and I love the song and words ‘moon river’. A romantic metaphor of your life’s journey, and that your experiences and the people you meet will always be a part of you.
I wrote the song myself and recorded the single in London. I was in the studio literally the day before we had to lockdown! Then I worked remotely with NZ producer Rory Noble over a few months. Then I re-recorded the vocals and worked with another engineer, Jon Kelly, in the last few months in London. The recording sessions and out-takes are always fun!
I just hope they like it, especially for my current audience as it’s a little more upbeat than my usual stuff. I want the dreamy vibes to feel uplifting and hopeful.
Usually where the beat comes in straight away, so people don’t need to take too much time to ‘get into’ the song.
I’m currently working on a new single that follows Angel conceptually. It’s moodier, so what my listeners are used to. Keep an eye out for that 😉.
Lorde – Ribs
Bailey Wiley – Dos Fuegos
Villette – Beige
Just this one! My advice as a self-releasing artist: Even if you don’t have a team behind you, you can still put your music out for people to hear. Don’t overthink it and make music for yourself first. Remember why you love music, and you’re the only one in the world who can play or write like you.
They cover the music I’m into, and they always keep me up to date with news on Frank Ocean and Mac Miller – my faves!
Thank you for including Angel in December NewTracks. Even though I’m currently in London, New Zealand and its music is my home, and being included has made me feel at home. xx
New Tracks is a compilation of new music from New Zealand artists which is distributed to broadcast and online platforms on the first of each month. Previously the Kiwi Hit Disc, New Tracks is one of the ways that New Zealand on Air promotes kiwi music to the industry, radio, streaming services, and media. To apply for New Tracks you must have a completed, airplay-ready song and a promotional plan.