There is no doubt that South London is having a moment. The latest talent to emerge from a SW postcode is 23 year old Mysie (pronounced My-Zee), a singer/songwriter with extraordinary conviction. Although Mysie is not brand new to this, having previously performed under her given name Lizbet Sempa, she has regrouped and re-released herself.
Having grown up as the granddaughter of a notable Ugandan jazz musician in second-generation household, she acknowledges the underlying presence of her roots, both cultural and genetic, in her sound: “It’s part of me naturally…that underlying African rhythm and that untouchable sensation.”
It’s this “untouchable sensation” that you can hear in her debut single ‘Rocking Chair’. The track mimics the titular subject, in the way it starts out consistent but delicate, and then grows to a crescendo, as if one were rocking faster. The listener is given space to settle in, while the constant piano underlay means you never fully relax; there is always a feeling of something coming. Mysie was inspired by Mac DeMarco’s ‘On a Level’, which has a similar cadence but with more of an 80’s tone than her song.
The visuals are co-directed by Mysie and Ayman Chaudhry, and shows the singer alone in neutral and red palettes, sometimes ‘directing’ the music with her hands. This control is telling of her narrative, which is “putting yourself first, waiting for yourself and no-one else.”
Mysie’s sound has an eeriness to it, which is both beautiful and haunting at the same time.
With wider influences like N.E.R.D. and Thundercat, it will be a joy to see how Mysie navigates her sound and visual identity, given this confident and personal debut.