REVIEW: Ea Kaya releases debut EP 'Fragile But Strong As Hell'
Danish singer-songwriter Ea Kaya has a way with words – there aren’t many singers who could holler ‘Shut your mouth!’ 45 seconds into their debut EP and evoke warm, fuzzy feelings of yearning, love and pure joy.
But Ea Kaya – real name Christine Kiberg – has, thankfully, never been a traditional pop star. A YouTube sensation in Denmark as a teenager, racking up over one million views by the time she was 15, she quit at age 17 after finding it “embarrassing” and decided to focus on a real music career. After a number of false starts, including a less than successful stint in a band performing a mix of Danish pop and jazz, Kiberg today releases her debut EP Fragile But Strong As Hell.
It is a remarkable collection of contemporary pop which showcases not only how talented Kiberg is, but also how her sound has matured and evolved in the short time since her first singles. Those singles – ‘Remedy’, ‘Tied Up’ and ‘Don’t Complicate It’ - are all here and are as strong and addictive as ever. ‘Don’t Complicate It’ continues to impress with it’s bouncy, electro vibe and sassy lyrics, while ‘Remedy’, with hints of R&B, showcases Kiberg’s incredible vocal range.
Love is the theme that runs through the EP and Kiberg says it “is a ride through all kinds of emotions and experiences that follow love. Whether you’re lost in love or not ready for it, in a steady relationship or in an unhealthy one. Single or taken, the issues will be there. Love is a challenge and a blessing as well. Fragile, but strong as hell.” And while the first three singles explore perhaps a louder, more aggressive form of love and relationships (“I don’t give a fuck / You’re my remedy” she sings on “Remedy’), it is the three new tracks – ‘4AM’, ‘Easy’ and ‘Talking’ - that form the emotional, vulnerable core of the EP. Opening track ‘4AM’, which Kiberg told Women In Pop last year is “one of my favourite songs I’ve ever written,” is a haunting, down-tempo electro-ballad which explores the yearning of wanting to be with someone you can’t: “4AM, don’t wanna know / Who you’re with…I want you to need me.”
‘Easy’ has a classic Scandipop sound, with slick production and a rollercoaster of moods from skittering funky beats, gorgeous multi-tracked vocals and acoustic chill-outs. Lyrically, the song deals with questioning your ability to be in a relationship that is so good “it’s easy”. “You’ve got to break me down / Do it brick by brick / It’s gonna take some time to get used to it” Kiberg sings.
Penultimate track ‘Talking’ shows another vulnerable side to Kiberg. “Small things can hit me hard…I’ll always be on guard / Maybe it’s time I let you help / But I’m no good at talking.” A swinging track that wraps itself around you and refuses to let go, it has 1980s vibes in its shimmering back beat and middle eight breakdown and brilliantly pares down the chorus before building it into a burst of unstoppable pop magic. It is perhaps the highlight of the EP.
Ea Kaya has shown promise since she first appeared on the music scene in 2017, and this debut EP more than lives up to expectations. As perfect a collection of pop music you are going to find, expect this to be pencilled in as one of the highlights of 2019 – already. Keep an eye on this young Danish singer - Ea Kaya is a future superstar and we can’t wait to hear what she comes up with next.
To read our interview with Ea Kaya, grab a copy of issue 5 of Women In Pop magazine here.