Listen to (L)only Child, the new single from rising pop force salem ilese
After finding a breakthrough with her Made at Disney single last year, the LA one-to-watch returns with a new single and news of an EP to come.
If you're keeping up with the next frontier of international pop, then Californian musician salem ilese is likely someone you've come across in the last 12 months. Raised on the edges of San Francisco, the 21-year-old musician had a breakthrough moment last year with her single Mad at Disney, a princess romance-inspired burst of pop brilliance that made the rising musician someone worth keeping an eye on, especially after exploring her craft with a string of singles (and a debut EP) in the year that came prior.
On reflection, Mad at Disney had everything it needed to become an introductory hit for salem. It was simultaneously bright and hard-hitting, capturing the heights of pop's forward-thinking future and the hooks that keep everything moving forwards. Throw in an out-of-the-box theme - "I wanted to take a classic Disney story and put it in the real world," she told Genius. "Maybe, the prince cheated on Cinderella with Sleeping Beauty, and they got a divorce. Much more believable than living happily ever after!" - and you've got a song on the cutting edge of pop, somewhere salem ilese has remained ever since.
In the time since Mad at Disney's TikTok-thriving success, salem has consistently furthered herself and her sound, even amongst the restrictions of having your break-out moment amongst a pandemic. In her own work, she's constantly combined exciting productions with thought-provoking and unique lyricism - take a look at last year's Coke & Mentos, for example - while as a guest collaborator, she's jumped on tracks by Alan Walker and MYRNE with the charm that's made her such a rising success, adapting to new sounds and productions to showcase her versatility.
Now, in 2021, it seems that salem ilese is taking things another step beyond what we've seen so far. Last week saw the arrival of her next single (L)only Child - another brilliant moment from salem, and one that is about as fresh as expected at this point - as well as the announcement of her forthcoming next EP, scheduled for release sometime this Autumn. It's an EP that is bound to explore the depths of salem's songwriting and how she's able to always push that to the next level, especially if what we've heard from her over the last twelve months is anything to go by.
(L)only Child keeps that continuing, etching out another coming-of-age story that salem packs full of intimacy and personality as she breaks down the moments of her life that's shaped her; in particular, the journies through self-acceptance that are said to be emphasised amongst much of the forthcoming EP's lyricism. Despite its potency, however, (L)only Child still reckons with that bright electro-pop edge that salem explores, even as she adds new flourishes of sounds and flavours that deepen it and make it slightly more multi-faceted time and time again.
"(L)only Child took about 2 years to make, and I went through countless versions in the process," she says on the single, said to be one of her most personal songs to-date. "I feel like this song says more about me than any bio could. On the surface, it details my experiences of being an only child, but at the root, it’s about my acceptance that all I have is myself at the end of the day. Being an only child taught me how to be my own bestie."
Salem's forthcoming new EP is bound to be one worth checking out with its arrival later this year, but in the meantime, take a dive into her new single (L)only Child below.