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Lyia Meta, a jazz singer based in her home country of Malaysia as well as Los Angeles, has just released a new EP entitled Always You that fantastically shows off her rare contralto range to remarkable effect. Influenced by giants of the genre like Nina Simone as well as relatively newer greats such as Amy Winehouse, Meta’s voice is without a doubt strong and unique enough for her to stand out on her own as an artist. Collaborating with songwriter Denise Dimin, the singer explores her feelings on love and life with a backdrop that could have been pulled straight from an old Hollywood depiction of a hazy jazz club.
It can be fairly surprising to hear a genuine contralto, but Meta’s voice immediately invites the listener into a collection of songs that are as emotional as they are technically sophisticated. It’s actually somewhat of a shock to learn that these are originals as one could easily be led to believe that she dug up some forgotten standards from the past. Although she briefly brings the tempo up on “Savor Me,” the EP is mostly a dreamy, subdued affair from the smooth ballad “Never Enough Time” to the cinematic “For You” which could have been a lost Shirley Bassey Bond theme. Always You is a wonderful addition to the artist’s repertoire, and a testament to the continued importance of jazz pop.
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