C’nky Siwela – My Name is in the Echo
The second single from sensational South African artist C’nky Siwela, “My Name is in the Echo”, takes a different direction than his debut offering. The new single features a wider sonic palate, especially concerning the guitar work, than listeners heard on “Distant Cry”, but there’s much more. “My Name is in the Echo” shows that Siwela isn’t just a formulaic electronic jazz/dance pop avatar or a sturdy practitioner in that area. Instead, the new song shows hints of an artist looking to expand his chosen form. “My Name is in the Echo” brings substantive musical qualities to an oftentimes disposable pop art form, added lyrical dimensions, and an underlying affirmative spirit. The superb production creates a generous balance that highlights each musical component and sets them in sympathy with one another. Rather than merely serving as an excuse to use a compelling tempo or rhythm, “My Name is in the Echo” has remarkable cohesiveness.
Siwela’s voice reflects his jazz influences with moments of improbable, but compelling, phrasing and inflections foreign to much of modern pop music. Despite the wealth of technique and training at his command, Siwela sounds natural throughout, unaffected, and simply attempting to communicate with his audience. The direct, openhearted honesty of his performance is impossible to deny. Moreover, he resists the temptation to lay things on too thick and compete with the backing track for attention. He focuses on integrating himself with the music and does so marvelously.
The lyrical material is equally direct. Siwela, however, drops a few glittering phrases throughout, including the song’s title, that hint at a higher poetic sensibility we’re likely to hear develop further through Siwela’s career. He has a light, almost gentle, timber that nevertheless doesn’t inhibit his ability to invoke a stirring, if not inspiring, mood with his vocal, but the words are key to fully achieving this effect. It’s an intelligent message behind the words, thoughtfully presented, and compliments the music brilliantly.
The instrumental strengths are considerable. A small battery of keyboard and synthesizer effects provides background while well-considered drumming and inventive guitar work over the top. Despite the certain use of electronics, there’s a surprisingly live feel on this track, something organic-sounding slipping through the studio cracks. It never sounds cold, premeditated, or stitched together. The guitar, more than anything, gives the music an added pizzazz with its flashy funk fills, beautiful phrasing, and occasional bite.
“My Name is in the Echo” solidifies Siwela’s standing as an artist to watch and a rising talent in the modern pop world. Though his capacity for creating entertaining pop is beyond question, Siwela reveals himself as an artist of surprising depth. He performs with surprising confidence as well and such singular talents are born, never made. His future from this point forward is brimming over with limitless possibilities and this new single is the first step on that road to tomorrow.