Premiere: The iridescent moonsea may be a little ‘Sensitive’ but her new single is an anthemic pop delight, carried on her celestial vocals.

Feature Photograph: Barbara Luyza

We are very honoured to premiere today the new single ‘Sensitive’ from Naarm/Melbourne-based indie-pop artist moonsea (Cecilia Xu). Xu’s vocals are radiant – a gossamer presence that floats in the ether, tendrils of silk that weave their way through the delicate melodies and instrumentation.

An underlying hint of wry pathos and self-deprecating humour burnishes the edges of this track (that flows through into the accompanying video). A reverberated piano note heralds moonsea’s gorgeous velvet vocals as the music surges underneath and reaches a crescendo with the arching, aching chorus. This is a glorious anthemic track with an abundance of majestic presence. As with any good pop song, there is an air of melancholy – a golden thread of yearning and sadness threaded throughout the sonic cloth. And yet the end result is something uplifting and euphoric.

Xu says of the track:

I grew up as a pretty sensitive kid. I would cry readily, laugh unreservedly and feel things fully and deeply. This got the well-meaning adults in my life worried. If I cried every time I heard a sad story, saw a bug get squashed or got told off by a teacher, how would I make it through this life in one piece?” 

Enduring the challenge of existing in a world that felt overwhelming, this emotional depth took its toll on her, carrying the weight of what felt like an immense burden. However, over time, she came to a profound realisation, noting,

being sensitive could possibly be a good thing, a superpower even. Some of the strongest and most empathetic women were sensitive kids. Feeling deeply allows you to experience the depth of the human experience and connect with other people in a really meaningful way.

The accompanying video, directed by Alinta Burton, portrays something we all feel – when you do your best, but it’s not enough under the harsh light of judgement by others. It’s only when Xu finds her true calling or superpower – as a singer – that things falls into place. It’s a heart warming and endearing portrayal:

Absolutely gorgeous.

‘Sensitive’ is out tomorrow (13 October) and will be available to download and stream through all the usual sites.

moonsea’s musical journey began after moving from Auckland, New Zealand to Melbourne in 2013 to pursue medicine. While at university, she explored music production and released two EPs under her former alias, Sympholily, titled ‘Lights’ (2017) and ‘Baby Blue’ (2020).

In late 2020, moonsea embarked on a transformative mentorship with Sophie Payten (Gordi) through the Women In Music program. As accomplished doctors and musicians, Payten offered invaluable guidance and profound insights into harmonizing these dual roles. The mentorship paved the way for her new artistic endeavour, moonsea, a name derived from her Chinese moniker, 海 (ocean) 明 (bright). In 2022, moonsea collaborated with Sydney producer Xavier Dunn, a fellow aficionado of classical music, to release her debut single, ‘Lullabye’.

On the evidence of this track alone, she is a prodigious talent.

Feature Photograph: Barbara Luyza

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