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Single Review: Nikaa - ‘Joy’

by Molly Wroe

Future East London soul superstar Nikaa is setting the mood with her gorgeous new single ‘Joy’ - a dreamy, sun-soaked ode to love with a buttery voice and very sweet acoustic instrumentals.

The track starts with an almost twinkly guitar riff, reminiscent of the bedroom pop genre that we’ve seen skyrocketing to popularity in recent years, with some gentle vocal ad libs over the top. It’s casual, it’s slow and it feels like a lazy Sunday morning, drinking coffee in a warm conservatory; if you could hear the feeling you get from a sun spot in the kitchen window warming your face, that would be the opening to ‘Joy’.

By the chorus, the instrumental has picked up a minimal amount of drums just to keep that drowsy, romantic tempo, which allows Nikaa’s vocals and lyrics to shine throughout the song. She credits Amy Winehouse and Etta James as two of her musical inspirations, and her lower range echoes that, whilst her higher notes give me goosebumps and an affectionate feeling in my chest. 

Lyrically, the song tells the story of being reluctant to fall for someone because you’re looking for love and not to be messed around, with the key line being in the pre-chorus, “boy what you saying, ‘cause man I ain’t messin’ around.” I particularly like the lyrics to this as a love song because I find them to be relatable - no grand gestures, no huge promises, just walking “hand-in-hand by the shore” and staying in the house together. 

The chorus is in line with the overall tone of the song; it’s smooth and easy to remember, almost symbolising that the kind of relationship Nikaa sings about is easy-going. She’s asking for the bare minimum too: “Bring me joy, bring me life, bring me sunsets not goodbyes.”

This is a gloriously unmaterialistic song, not focused on cars or diamonds or bodies like a lot of new music - this is romantic, easy, and very comforting for the soul. I also enjoy that we are left with quite a lot of instrumental at the end of the song, almost to stew on what Nikaa has just given us, and it fades out effortlessly.

I hope to hear more from Nikaa and will be going to listen to her first two singles immediately after this - I find her lyrics and musical style on this song to be so calming and refreshing and I cannot wait to see where it takes her!