Re-imagining classic songs while also telling her own stories, London artist Esbe recently released her newest album, Under Cover.
Featuring an entire album full of covers by iconic artists such as The Beatles, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Simon and Garfunkel, and more, Esbe showcases the variety of styles in her voice while putting a distinct spin on them. The London-based singer, producer, and composer has re-tooled ten monster hits by offering her own ethereal touch. As an independent artist, she has created her own opportunities by releasing five albums in the past four years along with getting the freedom to record whatever she pleases.
Under Cover dives into her classical roots, innovative arrangements, and pop visions interpreted differently throughout each classic track. Hoping to reach a new audience, this unexpected yet inspiring collection paints a slightly new picture on classics we know and love.
Beginning the album is the 1966 Beatles classic, “Yesterday,” which she previously released this summer. She offers a glimpse as to what listeners can expect to hear from the rest of the album. Throughout the song, the lush instrumentation creates a new dynamic, almost doubling the time length of the original song by developing a dream-like soundscape around the lyrics.
Taking the well-known Simon and Garfunkel tune, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” she makes it her own by layering different melodies and instrumentation. With such a popular song that has been sung by artists such as Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, and Josh Groban, she was up for the innovative challenge- just like with the rest of this iconic list of songs.
Another track from the album that stood out in a unique way is, “Don’t Explain,” by Nina Simone. It opens with a mysterious musical atmosphere, as if you were in the wilderness with nothing but the sounds of the air and trees around you. Giving a sense of peace, her vocals soon come in completing the story she offers through the instruments.
Towards the end of the Under Cover, she takes similar sounds from “Don’t Explain” and incorporates them into “Amazing Grace.” Adding in her classical techniques and pop influences, she once again re-imagines the hymn, yet ties it into her other intriguing covers.
Before venturing into the new album, Esbe knew that completely different arrangements, approaches, and production would have to be implemented to sound unique from the originals to fit her contemporary audience. By using songs of our parents and grandparents generation that most everyone knows and loves, Esbe shines a new light and keeps something sacred to many alive.
Esbe showcases her vibrant musical style in a notable way that sticks with you on Under Cover.