Daisy Hicks releases Upside
Love songs have held a special place in the hearts of music enthusiasts since the creation of the vinyl record. As we’ve traditionally listened to them, these ballads are driven by at their core by lyrics that typically illustrate a longing for human connection that is met with a freeing catharsis when that urge is finally satisfied. But, with all due respect to the brilliant lyricism of generations of songwriters, so much of what creates these emotions and feelings that accompany the poetic prose of the lyrics is within the instrumentation itself. Sure, a terrific verse about how much someone wants to hold and kiss another person is great and can certainly leave a lasting impression when worded in a melodic fashion, but can anything really compare to that single note than can elicit a frisky, romantic spark between two people? Without question, the most gifted artists among us are the ones who are aware not only of how to master linguistics, but to transcend them through the power of the music itself. That withstanding, I must say that English-born and Australian-based jazz composer Daisy Hicks is making a case to be among the best of her generation at harnessing this divine power, and her newest single “Upside” maintains the high level of creative integrity that her longtime fans have come to expect from her.
In the original cut of “Upside,” along with its two separate remixes by the talented Ruff Diamond and Sir Piers, contains a certain clarity in its presentation that you wouldn’t normally associate with an adult contemporary/jazz artist like Hicks. Unlike some of her rivals, she isn’t trying to paint us any elaborate pictures with trite metaphors and redundant exercises in contemplation, she’s giving us the goods straight up, and allowing us to enjoy the minimalism in her sleek song craft. The Ruff Diamond remix offers us a wonderfully eccentric ska take on “Upside,” while Sir Piers rockets the track into an electrifying neon dance piece that somehow still holds true to the jazz roots of the original. It’s distractingly innovative from an artist who, to be quite fair, hasn’t gotten the attention that she has long deserved from the international jazz and pop music scenes (this is hardly Hicks’ first success output in the studio, mind you).
For as professionally composed and polished as this is, I’d hardly say that Daisy Hicks is trying to sell us a straight pop song in “Upside,” but she’s definitely flirting with some themes that could easily catapult her into the Top 40 if her work were marketed harder towards western audiences. Regardless of where she chooses to go from here, there’s no debating that Hicks has got enough talent to hold her own against some of the biggest names in the game right now, and if she continues to make music that can evolve and progress more towards a mainstream adult contemporary audience, it won’t be long before she’s influencing an entire new era of jazz in the next set of roaring 20’s.