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Artist of the Week: New Zealand’s Unpredictable Leila Adu

Artist of the Week: New Zealand’s Unpredictable Leila Adu

Amorphous Jazzy Experiments For Your Slight Discomfort

By farahj
May 25, 2011

The readers have spoken. This week, we stray away from conventional logic to honor New Zealand’s jazzy, delightfully erratic alt-pop virtuoso Leila Adu, our new Artist of the Week!

Leila Adu

Leila Adu. Photo Credit:Leon Dale

The classically-trained pianist with Ghanese blood has dropped four albums of amorphous, moody,  jazz-based experiments topped by her powerful alto.

Typically, her arrangements are repetitive and minimal, yet far from simple. The title track off her new album Ode to the Unknown Factory Worker consists of two repeated, dissonant doomsday chords, while her vocals span the map, bending  into the impossible scales that lesser-trained musicians would try to avoid.

It’s tempting to bring up Fiona Apple here, if only to point out how far the “one lady and a piano” emblem has come. Leila can work the underground pop circuit without the help of a verse chorus verse bridge structure (not to mention, without the night-vision porn stuff). Her music is tailormade for the cerebral sect — for those who appreciate being slightly uncomfortable, even when the music is quiet.

Leila will grace MTV Iggy’s homepage all week — and stay tuned for a Q&A!

Photo Credit: Leon Dale

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