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Single Review: ‘Tell Me’ - Jay Moussa-Mann

by Ilana Hawdon

The feeling of pure betrayal and heartbreak is perfectly captured in Jay Moussa-Mann’s latest single, ‘Tell Me’.

Jay Moussa-Mann is the folk dream we have been waiting for. A favourite on BBC Introducing, Radio 6 and BBC Radio Tees, Jay’s sound is easy on the ears but delightfully addictive. With a background in writing and film, she began her solo musical venture when she released her debut album, ‘Little Deaths’ in late-2019, and since then, Moussa-Mann has defined herself as an artist with unbelievable range and promise. 


‘Tell Me’ is completely timeless; with notes of Carole King and Joni Mitchell, Moussa-Mann creates a folk-inspired track which is simultaneously heart wrenching and strangely empowering. Beginning as a simple guitar tune, ‘Tell Me’ builds with layers of luscious strings and twinkling piano, tied together with Jay’s vocal line which is equal parts melancholic and divine. The song feels unwaveringly intimate; the lyrics ask, ‘what was I worth?’ as Jay sprinkles angelic harmonies throughout the verses and into the emotional climax of the song - the bridge. She exercises her musical intellect as she sings, ‘You’ve changed your tune so many times I don’t know if it’s G sharp or E flat’, emphasising the instability and mistrust in the relationship while also word painting in the same fashion as Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. 

The orchestration is enchanting, with rich violins pouring over continuous, steady guitar as the song approaches its outro, and listeners are bombarded with pure emotion. It is here, in the absence of words that we feel the extent of Moussa-Mann’s pain, her desperation to know if she was truly worth anything at all. In the last few bars, we are left with only the guitar, the song’s reliable foundation, suggesting maybe she’ll be okay on her own and maybe we all need to find a way to move on.