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Reviewed by Bridie Chetwin-Kelly

Alayna: Sweet Soul EP

Reviewed by Bridie Chetwin-Kelly

Alayna: Sweet Soul EP

Alayna says she wants her music to sound like red wine on a rainy evening, and coffee in bed on a Sunday morning. Somehow, her smooth and at times heart-wrenching EP does just that.

‘Sweet Soul’ is well named because that’s what she delivers; slow tempo, mellow, elegantly-crafted tracks that you could expect to find as a soundtrack to any smart US TV urban love story. Born (Alayna Powley) in Rotorua, Alayna wrote and recorded this very classy five-track EP in New York.

Her liquid vocals and lyricism are so evocative that at times your mind wanders beyond the loft bedroom down to the autumn leaf covered pavements of New York City. Perhaps what makes this about this five-track EP really special is that she already had it recorded, before Chad Hillard of 20XX Entertainment asked if she wanted to reproduce it – this time with producers who themselves had some massive credits – including ST!NT who has worked with Demi Lovato, Carly Rae Jepson and Santigold.

The EP’s title track was produced by on-the-rise hip hop producer Beewirks, Alayna saying that he lightened up the song into something vibey that provides a short, sharp burst of feeling. Alayna describes it as a note to herself about not getting too anxious about the future, about who she really is. “I was telling myself to chill out and that I needed my sweeter younger soul to calm me down as well.”

Another big name on the EP is Billie Eilish’s brother Finneas O’Connell. Alayna wrote the closing track Between Dusk And Dawn with him. The result is an emotionally raw ballad, unique to Finneas’s melancholic themes in his own music.

In the case of Bliss, it’s the naivety and sweetness of what she’s singing that makes for a stand out track. “And I know it’s far too forward, to say I love you, And I know it’s far too soon to say I’ll miss you.” It’s also in the way that her every breath is captured between the lines, making it seem authentic.

Falling Autumn gets you right in the pit of your stomach, making you ache for lovers been and gone. The six million streams it’s enjoyed to date telling us that Alayna is making good with her sweet soul music.