It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when alt-pop exploded into the mainstream. If you had to make a guess, Lorde’s groundbreaking 2013 release Pure Heroine is a decent one. Since then, a plethora of similar artists have emerged, blending the raw and eclectic with the catchy and infectious: Banks, Broods, Tei Shi, FKA Twigs, Vallis Alps, VÈRITÈ…the list goes on.
In this genre that can sometimes feel cluttered, Brika (pronounced bree-kuh) is worth singling out. A Miami native of Cuban descent, Brika’s tracks glow and captivate with her sultry, soulful voice; an infusion of R&B sensibilities; sharp, emotionally resonant lyrics; and impeccable production. This distinct sound has rightfully attracted attention. Among features in various publications (including Nylon and Billboard), she’s earned millions of streams on Spotify, a collaboration with electronic artist Kygo at the 2016 X Games, and a spot at Red Bull’s SoundSelect Festival last year. All this, and she’s only 22.
When I first listened to her 2014 debut album, Voice Memos, a couple of years ago, I was immediately hooked. Her soul, talent, and swagger would be impressive for someone ten years her senior. (Highly recommend checking that out—start with “Mumbai,” “Options,” and “Gold.”) The painful emotional territory explored on that record—heartbreak, loss of trust, questions of identity—seems to have been processed into a much brighter, more self-assured outlook in her new songs, some of her first in years. “Don’t Want Your Love” dropped back in April, and on July 27th, she revealed the upcoming record’s next track, “Just Wanna Be Single.” And it’s delightful: the musical equivalent of sipping a piña colada at a beachside bar just after sunset, or driving past one in a convertible with the top down.
Wavering, ebb-and-flow synths dance with guitar strums and a tropical percussive beat, interwoven with finger snaps and claps at a tempo just right for nodding along to. Brika’s intoxicating vocals start low in her range, with rhythmically inventive verses setting the scene, before shooting upwards in the chorus for a confident affirmation of carefree independence. It’s a perfect summer soundtrack, chill but with a captivating energy and seamless production. And Brika’s singular voice, combined with strong lyricism (such as “The matrices of city streets/fermented grain and ocean breeze/got tempted, can’t regret that I said, no”) make it stand head and shoulders above the pack.
In short, if you’re into alt-pop but looking for something a little different, a little more inventive, with a little more soul, this is both a song and an artist you should know about. Personally, I can’t wait to hear what she does next.
You can stream the track below, or by clicking here. It’s also available on iTunes, Spotify, and other online music platforms. Keep up with Brika on Facebook here so you don’t miss anything. And if you’re intrigued, read more of her story on her website.