Shaznay Lewis’s recent single ‘Miracle’ affirmed that the voice behind classic hits such as ‘Never Ever, ' ‘Pure Shores, ' and’ Black Coffee’ was back. And despite being away for twenty years, it was as exemplary as ever; better, even, given the maturity and life experience she could now draw on.
Greeted by coverage from NME, The Line of Best Fit, The Times, Independent, XS Noize and more, Shaznay now accelerates her return by announcing that her long-awaited second solo album ‘Pages’ will be released on 17th May 2024. She launches the album by unveiling the brand new single ‘Kiss of Life’. Watch the official video BELOW:
Some things are just worth the wait. ‘Pages’ is a lush masterpiece of psychedelic soul, cinematic strings, and sophisticated R&B that combines her established songwriting with the kind of lyrical wisdom that can only come from experience. Coming from someone blessed with deep vocal expressiveness, someone with an avowed “allergy to auto-tune,” it is also a reminder of what real soul sounds like. Its lyrics often feel like a diaristic confessional, as loneliness, heartbreak and the bittersweet realities of life abound. They come from distant memories of being in such situations and of empathising with others’ struggles, all magnified by the big stage drama that Shaznay loves in music. Collectively it’s a rebirth.
Shaznay says, “I do feel as though I’m starting again, and making this record with some special people has been an exhilarating experience. I felt free for the first time. For this album, myself and the people I worked with were making it for one reason only: to just make music that we felt was good, and for people to take and enjoy. You need to be in the right place and clear headspace to create good work and finally, I had that.”
The new single ‘Kiss Of Life’ exceeds the standard set by ‘Miracle’. Both classic and contemporary, its punchy, dubby bass places it firmly in the here-and-now, but the way it wields R&B class and emotion with a glorious pop edge ensures that it will appeal to fans of Shaznay’s most famous work too. Shades of the symphonic soul of ‘70s legends like Minnie Ripperton and Donnie Hathaway complete a track which is clearly a love song, but not of the romantic kind. Shaznay collaborated on the song with writer/producer team Emily Phillips and Ant Whiting (Florence + The Machine, Sigrid).
She adds, “I like to talk a lot before we start creating anything. That feels more organic to me; when you are about to open yourself up you need to know the person a bit more. I had some wonderful conversations with Emily. We played with many melody ideas, and once Kiss of Life was finished we knew we had something special. I always know what my ears want to hear. The song was written about my children.”
‘Pages’ was created with trusted collaborators old and new, with features from Self Esteem, Shola Ama and General Levy alongside writers and producers who also include Ben Cullum (Celeste), Michael Angelo (Sam Smith, Not3s), Johan Hugo (Self Esteem, Diplo), Jez Ashurst (Maisie Peters, Little Mix), Moyses Dos Santos (Freya Ridings) and Charlie Stacey(Ezra Collective).
It all adds up to an inspiring return from an artist best known as a member of and lead songwriter for All Saints. Looking back, their success is staggering, with headline moments such as five UK #1 hits, two multi-platinum albums, two BRIT Awards, a MOBO and an Ivor Novello. Shaznay’s success continued with her debut solo album ‘Open’ in 2004 before she shifted her focus to motherhood, marriage and writing for other artists. She has also sporadically stepped out since, with big moments like returning to the charts with All Saints and performing with Coldplay at Wembley Stadium, but new music of her own only began to emerge in the summer of 2022 - and now those songs are ready to be shared with the world.
‘Pick You Up’ featuring Self Esteem
‘Kiss of Life’
‘Good Mourning’ featuring Shola Ama & General Levy
‘Supposed To Be’
‘Got To Let Go’
‘Tears To The Floor’
‘Hearts In Danger’