About two weeks ago, you may recall that I wrote about the Texas-born, New York-based singer/songwriter Melany Watson. Watson has been singing and performing music for as long as she can probably remember but, she can trace the origins of her musical career to a couple of events: first, performing in school choirs as a young girl, and secondly, touring the Southeast Texas Ol’ Opry circuit alongside her mother in the mother and daughter country music duo Melva Lee and Melany. Interestingly, according to Watson, the biggest and perhaps most important event for her, was the fact that her own artistic self-discovery was inspired by Whitney Houston, The Bodyguard soundtrack, and a lengthy list of 90s R&B vocalists — all of which opened a new world and a way of expression to Watson.
After singing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at a local karaoke bar when she was 12, Watson had what she has called an epiphany — that she was singing and performing the music she had to devote her life to. And as a result, Watson realized that she needed to set out on her own path.So far Watson has had several accomplishments throughout her career, as she’s performed at PBS‘ Christmas at Belmont with Trisha Yearwood while as an undergrad at Belmont University, was a Top 100 Finalist during Season 6 of NBC‘s The Voice and she recently backed YouTube pop sensation Tori Kelly during Kelly’s performance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. And among some within the music industry, Watson has been compared favorably to Etta James, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and others — but with a country music vibe, leaning towards lyrics that tell stories informed by her own experiences.
“Illuminate,” the first single off Watson’s forthcoming EP, Lilith in Virgo pairs Watson’s effortlessly soulful vocals with a slick, modern production comprised of skittering percussion, shimmering synths, swirling electronics and twinkling piano chords in a way that meshes 90s inspired R&B and soul, contemporary electro pop and a very subtle nod to the country music that Watson grew up listening to and performing. While possessing a dramatic and moody heft, as the song thematically discusses what it truly means to be in a relationship and to be someone’s soulmate. But perhaps most interesting — sonically speaking — is that the contemporary ethereal and spacious production allows room for Watson’s vocals to soar.
The recently released — and by recent, I mean yesterday — official video possesses a slickly luminous and dream-like quality that features previously shot footage within the video superimposed over Watson singing the song. At one point, you see a couple going through what is a both a figurative and literal baptism in the ocean among other gorgeously shot and highly symbolic scenes. Interestingly, the video at points reminds me of the gorgeously shot videos for Caveman’s “Easy Water” and Other Lives‘ “Beat Primal,” as they all employ seem as though they delve into the psyche and subconscious of their subjects.