Pop is an all-encompassing genre of music, with a massive scale upon which new artists can wander. It has a spectrum so broad you can find something as credible as Madonna, Abba, Michael Jackson or Prince at one end, or at it’s other we find the generic, light-weight pulp that is Christina Aguilera or Cheryl Cole. At one end of the scale you find sophistication, talent and a divine craft, but with the other end you locate nothing but forgetful, pop-by-numbers with an overdose of gloss. Then there are those artists – and there’s a whole stack of them – that fit somewhere between the two ends of this spectrum. Can you completely write off Roxette for example? Sure, they don’t quite have the masterful, deft touch of Jackie Wilson or Ray Davies, but they still sold over 75 million records and you can’t get far past The Look for a bit of brilliant pop. They sit somewhere in the middle. Like A-Ha, or Cyndi Lauper, or Erasure, there’s a lot of outstanding pop artists that may well be known for just one or two giant songs, but there’s still an undeniable credibility with them.
We think that today’s recommendation sits somewhere in the middle ground of all this. Cinnamon Girl is part of that new breed of modern pop stars, who can never be compared to the true legends of the genre, but when sat against a Simon Cowell-designed contemporary backdrop of sugary rubbish they’re seen as rather exciting. Take Marina & The Diamonds, or Ellie Goulding, both of which arrived under that banner of ‘female solo pop artist’, but rather than dressing up in school girl outfits, or having a team of writers do it all, they seemed to come with a touch more credibility. Looking back, they’re destined to fade quite quickly, although that’s perhaps down to the rapid pace of today’s Internet generation, so might not be something they can alter. With Cinnamon Girl we have another potential talent which we can slot straight into that same female solo pop pigeon hole, as she looks the part, all styled and wonderfully photogenic, plus she writes, records and produces all her own work. In the context of yesteryear she too would fade fast, but in today’s field we think she genuinely has enough ability to last an Internet minute.
Cinnamon Girl is Camilla Roholm, a Danish female artist who moved to London a few years ago to study performance. A self-proclaimed “groupie baby“, as the daughter of a Danish and Jamaican pair of musicians, who admits to only having met her real father when his band re-toured around Scandinavia. This hints at a childhood immersed in music, which resulted in her selecting to go pop in her teens, because the genre is “drawn to strong female personalities“. She admits to channelling a lot of iconic female 80s pop stars, which can be heard in her playful synth-based tunes, but also in the way she seems to portray an empowered and bold personality. This seems another female pop star with striking looks that isn’t particularly going all out to use her sexuality in order to sell records (remind you of Marina & The Diamonds?), stating that she can’t imagine that she’ll “be getting my arse out and shaking it around in any of my videos“. The initial demos fizz and bump in all the right places, with Now I Know showing off her mixture of simple synth stabs with her yelped singing style. Your Eyes Are Glass is enjoyably weightier with a throbbing bassline throughout, but her understanding for when to break into a chorus is perfectly timed. Friends seems the most complete song of the three, with a swagger that flips and folds behind her vocals that swing from smooth to razor sharp, before the synths get blasted like lasers in the breaks.
Here is a new pop artist with all the boxes getting ticked, pairing up the looks, the back story, the styled music and just the right amount of edge to keep the alternative crowd interested whilst Radio One takes her to the mass market. The question is, have we lost our context as listeners? Will we ever get it back, or should we simply accept today’s new context and roll with the evolution of pop? Ask any serious modern pop commentators and they wouldn’t have a bad word said about Britney Spears, but in truth her career was handed to her by Max Martin, writer of the song, Baby, One More Time, who asked her to perform it only after TLC turned it down. What if TLC had said yes? Do those same pop commentators even know of Max Martin’s existence? Probably not. We can’t help but see her mostly as a ‘performer’ after this knowledge. This is the slightly mixed up and faded arena in which we are now discussing pop and fourteen year’s after Britney’s debut it’s only got worse. However, that shouldn’t disguise genuine talent and real pop potential – nobody handed Cinnamon Girl her songs – so we’ve decided to embrace this new artist for keeping the control and developing a career in her vision. It’s still very early days for her, but with a set of songs as punchy as these first demos we believe that she has every chance to be added to pop’s lengthy story. (MB)
CINNAMON GIRL – FRIENDS
CINNAMON GIRL – NOW I KNOW
CINNAMON GIRL – YOUR EYES ARE GLASS