Of all the submissions I receive, solo female artists are definitely the most rare. So I’m always excited to take a listen when I do get one, even if it’s just a collection of demos recorded over a few months time. The tracks on Soft Pink, the debut from Kate Epps out of London, point to a lot of potential to be mined on what will, hopefully soon, be her first fully realized release.
We hear two different versions of “Smile.” It’s cool to hear both versions so you can get a sense of what’s changed and how the foundation allows her to do what she wants with it. She doesn’t go too big on either, the acoustic one pushes the vocals way out front so you can hear her better and plays the piano straight so her voice can go off in different directions. On the other version there are a lot of textures that come through, particularly in the final third of the song. Each has its merits, but I kind of like the acoustic better.
The other three tracks are all good, with “Prom Queen Ballad” and “Fire And Ice” easily the two that I would pick as favorites. There’s a vulnerability that really shines through on both that makes Epps a more interesting songwriter than either “Smile” or “Fragile” display. Nothing wrong with the latter two, but the former both play to her strengths as a singer.
There is clearly a talent here, and you can check it out for yourself over on Bandcamp. I don’t feel alienated from it, like I do with a lot of young female singers that I can’t relate to. Epps sings about things we can all understand, and the minimalist nature of demo tracks makes it feel very intimate. Almost more like you’re talking to a friend than listening to a stranger.