The Pick: Thunderstorm in Surulere nicely sets up the third act of Lady Donli's evolving career.
Our song of the week!
The release of “Thunderstorm In Surulere”, Lady Donli’s blustery, love-inspired new single not only hints that her anticipated second studio album is on the horizon, but also nicely opens the third act of her impressive career. Years ago, when she first stepped onto the scene, young and inspired, she sang tenderly, blending alt-R&B with soothing neo-soul. Her earlier works ーLove and War, 2016’s Wallflower and the intimate Letters To Her ー set her slightly arcane lyrics and stirring vocals to melancholic and soulful production.
Her debut album Enjoy Your Life, however, signalled a sonic and stylistic alteration, embracing more Pan-African themes and also a more clear-cut and confident approach, at least lyrically. it’s also the centerpeice upon which the second act of her career was built. After a relatively brief hiatus and her moody and eclectic 2021 EP W I L D, “Thunderstorm In Surulere” looks to be the opening scene of her third act.
Produced by close collaborator Benjiflow, the record hints at another sonic change for the ever-evolving 25-year-old. While it’s built on soft drums and a piercing guitar loop, it manages to incorporate so much more. It’s a difficult task to pin this record down to a singular genre, as it blends folk with elements of R&B, Jazz and even Afropop. Lyrically, she’s on tenterhooks, keen to reach her lover before it begins to pour in Surulere. “There’s a thunderstorm in Surulere and I just wanna get to you before it ends / There’s a thunderstorm in Surulere and I just want to hold you close to me before it ends” she sings gently but eagerly.
Lady Donli has never really been one to be pigeonholed. Her chameleonic approach to music from the get-go has not only put her in a unique position, but it has also given her the opportunity to constantly experiment and tinker. With “Thunderstorm In Surulere”, she shows again just how multifarious her artistry is and it’ll be interesting to see how her third act gradually unfurls.