A keyboard ignites a firestorm of synthesized grooves as we enter “Never Ever,” the all-new single from up and coming pop singer/songwriter Szandra Mayer, but it’s soon joined by a feverish vocal from the star of the show that is much more supple and understated than the blistering music coming to life behind it. We’re drawn towards the hook in the chorus through a churning shift in tempo that brings the percussion to the forefront of the master mix and imparts a textured rhythm that will keep us on the edge of our seats for the duration of the track. The instruments are vying for the lion’s share of our affections, but Mayer is winning our hearts from the eye of the storm, dispensing one lush verse after another and increasing the tension being emitted from the harmonies that she’s directing.
Szandra Mayer is only twelve years old, but she has a very mature skillset that, in “Never Ever,” could have fooled me into thinking that she was in her early 20’s at the very youngest. She never gives off anything but confidence as she works her way from one beat to the next, dexterously navigating the rocky rhythm that is chasing after her delicate voice in every twist and turn that the song has in store for us. When she approaches the fever pitch of the track, she pauses for a moment so that the abundance of climactic energy will be unleashed when she belts out the cathartic chorus in all of its studded glory.
The vocals are always the star of the show in “Never Ever,” and to a large extent, the instrumentation is structured around them exclusively. Szandra Mayer strikes me as the type of singer that could probably manage any style of music that you threw her way, but in this flashy, bombastic strain of electronic pop that she explores here, I feel like we’re able to focus all of our attention on her talent as a vocalist. There aren’t any over the top guitar solos or grinding breakdowns in this song to interrupt the flow of her crooning; it’s just her, the synth melody and the cadence of her speech guiding the pace of the percussion in the background.
“Never Ever” is undisputedly smart pop from a really talented young lady with a huge future ahead of her if she chooses to pursue this medium for a full-time career. There’s so many layers to dig through in this song, and being that it’s a single from an artist who is still in junior high school, it speaks volumes about what Mayer could do with her sound if she decides to stylize it explicitly for electro-pop. I’m very eager to hear what she comes up with in the studio next, and hopefully it won’t be long before we have the chance to see a full length album from this unrestrained vocal powerhouse. She’s got the chops to do just about anything she sets her mind to, and judging from the caliber of content that she shares with us here, I have a feeling that she won’t be wasting the amazing gift she’s been given.