Born and raised on the remote island of Kaua’i, singer-songwriter Sierra Blax left the ocean breezes and sounds of palm trees for a life in the grittiness of Los Angeles. “Although life in Hawai’i was truly paradise, I knew I needed a change in scenery to grow as an artist and really tap into my second nature, which is music”. When you listen to her music, you can hear just that, the blend of two spirits. It’s obvious that when she writes she escapes and for us the rawness is brutal & honest in the most stylish way.
“brb… I’m daydreaming ” is primarily a pop record, one of extremely refined style and possessing more than a bent of funk, nu-disco, and soul. It’s almost too straightforward at first, but the album quickly delves into these neat sleights-of-hand techniques to really bring out some very engaging texture and grooves, thus providing us with an album that hasn’t got a single dull moment in its entire run.
The concept behind this album is of course the act of Daydreaming, and it treats this as a double-edged sword, both capable of fueling vision and goals, as well as impeding them or isolating the daydreamer from the reality around them. Sierra herself says that the album is “about taking risks and doing things my way. The title, “brb…I’m daydreaming” represents my youth and how daydreaming got me here. This album will spark feelings of madness and self-destruction but at the same time orchestrating those feelings with class.”
if you’ve ever heard just a few seconds worth of Sierra’s voice, then you know that she’s nothing to sneer at as a singer, having both the refined technique and natural qualities to hold your attention all on her own, but there’s more to this album than just a pretty voice. Produced by the acclaimed duo AGM3 and guitar virtuoso Tim Rose, the album breaks free from the digital constraints of pop and earns a timeless warmth from exuberant, juicy riffs in tracks like “Woke Up In A Mansion” and “Distract me”.
Songs such as “Real Man Would” and the fantastic “Past Noon” also tap into other wellsprings of style, drawing influences from R&B and Adult contemporary flairs in completely genuine ways that truly leave the album feeling a lot like a potpourri sample of Sierra’s broad creative arsenal. I personally yearn for these types of albums where the artist knows that their strengths can best be expressed in subtle variety rather than rigid genre structures or uncontrolled experimentation.
But even if abolishing the safety of pop wasn’t enough at the very beginning wasn’t enough, Sierra jaunts deeper into the soul-funk spectrum almost completely out of pocket (in the best way) with “January Twenty Nineteen”, an attitude-reigns-supreme interlude that has all the sweaty charm of a live improv jam- probably because that’s almost exactly what it is- this track is very short and almost a bit of a non-sequitur in the entire context of the album, but I think it’s a brilliant addition to the overall structure of the release. What I liked best about this particular track is that it follows my hands-down favorite song in the entire album: Control, featuring Christopher Watson, a song so breezy and feathery that you can’t help but feel caressed by the very same winds of Kaua’i that influenced young Sierra so. “Although life in Hawai’i was truly paradise, I knew I needed a change in scenery to grow as an artist and really tap into my second nature, which is music” She confesses.
“brb… I’m daydreaming ” is quite a brief experience all things considered, but that doesn’t detract at all from the astonishing quality of the overall production and the immense enjoyment you’re going to get out of hearing Sierra’s absolutely dominating and nearly effortless vocal performance. I think the album -though a bit timid in its structure- is filled with some amazing tracks that show all the great promise you could expect from a debut.
Story: Samuel Aponte Photos: Courtesy of the artist
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