Premiere: Aotearoa/New Zealand chanteuse Isla Noon unveils the delicious vibrancy of ‘Her’ with her exquisite soaring vocals.

Feature Photograph: Alex Twidle

We are overjoyed at being able to bring you an exclusive listen to the new single from Aotearoa/New Zealand’s Isla Noon, an artist we have followed with great interest for a number of years now and who is just getting exponentially better with every release.

The project of Shani Sauerman, Isla Noon has a voice that could melt glaciers in the Southern Alps (well – a little faster than their current rate). Cast across a vibrating, pulsating synth wave, her vocals scale immeasurable heights with an icy precision as the instrumentation builds up and recedes. Sauerman’s velvet delivery is breathtaking and epic, carrying a vast, searing melody that implants itself into the mind and takes up a welcome permanent residency.

The instrumentation is bold with a steely spine that thunders along with the emotional delivery – a veritable tour de force that shakes and thunders, an indelible contrast to the gossamer silk vocals. Isla Noon says of the track:

I wrote ‘Her’ alone, at home with my guitar. ‘Her’ is about my younger self. Life often ends up taking you down a whole lot of roads you could not have anticipated when you were young. I didn’t want to lose my child self in adulthood, because I still have a lot of the same dreams I’ve had since I was a little kid. In a way, I felt like I owed that little kid, like she was counting on me. Writing this song allowed me to open a dialogue with my younger self and let her know; ‘You can trust me to take over now. It won’t be perfect, and some of the things you thought you wanted will change, but you’ll be happy’. It’s me at my most candid and conversational.

The result is as expansive as the Pacific Ocean, full of swells and thrills, a great beauty that is powerful and overwhelming. Isla Noon joins the ranks of singers like Sharon van Etten and PJ Harvey who can transmit powerful emotions in the most delicate packages. The cathartic expression can be read into every note:

This song allowed me to put into words something that was weighing on me at the time, and now feels like a marker of my growth since writing it. I’m no longer experiencing the weight of those feelings, in fact I’m in a very peaceful place with it now, but it’s only really through writing the song that I moved through and past that block. It felt like a gift to myself to write, and releasing it feels like passing that gift on to anyone who may have ever felt that they were falling behind in some way, or struggling to reconcile expectations that their younger self may have had about where they ‘should’ be in life.

The single heralds a debut album on the horizon which based on her releases so far, will be stunning.

‘Her’ is out on Friday (10 May 2024) and you can pre-order here.

Feature Photograph: Alex Twidle

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