Nanette bares her soul in “Bad Weather.”

After making her debut in the music scene last year with the song “Call Me,” South African R&B singer Nanette has become one of the industry’s emerging voices. The artist kicked off the year with the release of “Dream Girl” and “Mama’s Boy,” which are some of the songs off her newly-released debut album, “Bad Weather.” While speaking to Apple Music about the project, Nanette said, “Since I was a child, I’ve always been scared of thunder and lightning. I was an only child, and sometimes I’d be staying as this lonely in the house alone during a thunderstorm, scared as heck. That fear of being alone in a thunderstorm or a catastrophic event has never left. I always saw even the things that went wrong in my life as another thunderstorm. I wanted the album to feel like an account of me in my room with my blinds down, and it’s pouring, and the thunder’s crashing against the window. The album is a tumultuous journey because nothing about bad weather is peaceful.” This statement perfectly explains the album’s direction; it documents some of Nanette’s experiences as a lover, daughter, and human being.

The project was written during the lockdown period, and I think this gave Nanette the chance to reflect deeply on her life. Those thoughts and emotions she was feeling at that moment got transferred into “Bad Weather.” We were transported into some of the most challenging times of her life with nine songs. The artist anchors “Intro,” a song about her childhood memory of staying alone in bad weather. Here, she doesn’t want to be alone and calls out to someone to “Weather the bad weather with me.” She sings, “It’s dark outside, and I’m staying in my bed. It’s dark outside, and I need you in my bed.”  The chorus paints a picture of how she coped with stormy weather with lyrics like “Staying in my bed, locked up in my head. Staying in my bed, locked up in my bed,” and you can already see the connection between the title of the album and songs on the project. “Bad Weather” is a walk of Nanette’s personal stories and how she has coped so far.

“I’m about to get everything off my chest,” the first line already indicates that the artist is about to let her feelings out. In “Vent,” Nanette sings about being in a stagnant relationship even though she tries to be the perfect lover. She sings, “I thought the lingerie I bought was it. That I did the trick, that I was the shit. Why is the pussy the only thing that got them proper?” She addresses the issue of women being seen as sex objects. A woman’s body is not all she has to offer, and that’s why this quote “Beauty and brains” leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Why must a beautiful woman get extra attention because she is smart? Or why is it such a surprise a beautiful woman is intelligent? This song is the singer’s way of saying that she is much more than her feminine features. Nanette doesn’t stop there as she talks about her fear of not finding love, finding purpose, having children at the right time, losing herself, and ending up alone. Many listeners can relate to this song because it talks about our worries. We all worry about falling in love with the wrong person and losing ourselves, but it helps if we take it one step at a time. Making mistakes is inevitable, but we’ll be fine at the end of the day.

In “Same Mistakes,” the artist sings about making bad choices as an adult. She talks about how her mother associated growing up with making the right choice, but as an adult, she sees herself making the same mistakes repeatedly. She sings, “Mama said, I’ll understand when I’m older, but I’ve made the same mistakes over and over.” In the next song, titled “Dream Girl,” Nanette sings about her collapsing relationship; she talks about problems her relationship has faced, from hostile parents to her lover complaining about her clothes and voice and hating her being outspoken. She sings, “I don’t meditate a lot cus you don’t like it. I don’t sing in the shower cause you say I’m too loud and I’m not hitting all my notes.”. She still holds on to him and asks him if she is still his dream girl, his spec “Do you still find me attractive? Do you still think I’m your dream girl? Am I right in assuming it’s not me anymore?”. It is sad that with how toxic the relationship is, she still holds, “but as if I would move oh, and maybe it’s been way too long.” There is a short monologue at the end of the song where the singer complains about the relationship; she says “Long ago, I was the only one who was determined here. You fight me with people for your love.”

In “Fire,” she features Nigerian singer Idahams, the artists who are both under The Universal music group come together to sing about their turbulent love affairs. Nanette sings, “Turbulent, turbulent love affair. I can’t take you and your turbulence. You are a mess, you don’t care,” describing their shaky relationship even though no one wants to let go. Idahams comes in praising his lover who has been there for him “Only you still dey for my heart, no letting go.” Nanette’s ability to bare her soul makes this album unique, and she does just that in the next song, “The Nice Guy.” Here, she sings about her relationship with her father, doing things she is not proud of, anger issues, being abused, and finding solace in sex. She sings, “I smile through the bull; I’m stupid, naïve, addicted to romance. Need therapy, but can’t afford it”. With all these issues, she still has to be the bigger person and smile because she has fans now. “They can’t see you frown. Now you got fans, you can’t let them down.” Often, people smile to hide the fact that they are hurting, and they begin to seek therapy for different things. In Nanette’s case, her therapy is music; she sings about things she can’t talk about.

“You Don’t Know Me (Freestyle)” is a song about a toxic relationship she can’t seem to leave. She sings about things she has sacrificed for her love interest and songs dedicated to him “I’m such a sucker for you. Stuck in the booth, tryna make songs dedicated to you. Dropped all my values for love”. We tell people in toxic relationships to leave their partners, but it is not an easy feat because everything has been taken from them, including their free will. They forget who they are, and that’s why Nanette sings, “You made me forget what I believed in, yet I always give it up, give it up for you.” That’s what it’s like for people who have been exposed to so much toxicity, they can’t get out. In “Mama’s Boy,” Nanette disses her love interest for being a mama’s boy and leaves him for good because she doesn’t like sharing. She sings, “Too weak, ain’t loyal. Don’t speak, you spoilt. Don’t talk to me, don’t say nothing, boy. You’re a mama’s boy.”

The artist closes this project with “Good Girl, Gone Sad,” this song carries so much emotion. A few minutes into the song, listeners can already feel the hurt in Nanette’s voice. From the first verse, she sings about struggling in her twenties and using drugs as an escape, and love is something she has not found “Doubting myself, is this what my 20’s will be? If so, pass me an Adderall. Help me to stay warm in the fall, bags under my eyes; turning grey like the storm”. She sings about her disconnection from God and asks for his touch “I’m disconnected, I can’t feel your presence. Father forsake me no more,” a “Take not thy holy spirit from me” situation. The singer admits to being sad and doesn’t hide under any facade.

After listening to the album, a few things are noticeable about Nanette, and they are that she has been through a lot in her life, from daddy issues to being confused about life to drugs and all other things. She somehow believes that all these will go away once she finds the right person to love, a masculine figure to give her a sense of protection, but shouldn’t she overcome her demons and love herself first before falling in love with someone else? Asides from the clouds that seem to hover around “Bad Weather,” it is a promising debut project. Some things that make it stand out are the singer’s vocals, her voice could sound sad and happy at the same time, and it carried so many emotions. Also, Nanette’s songwriting skills were noticeable; she used the right words for her songs. Another that might endear listeners to the album is how relatable it is. They can find themselves in each song; most people struggle with toxic relationships, are afraid of finding love, their mental health, connecting with God, and other themes present in the album. It gives a precise detail of the experiences of most people, it makes us vulnerable, and this is where “Bad Weather” shines. Production credit goes to Zadok, Batundi, Lee Global, Syriee, Mars Baby, Yours Truly, and Nanette. Listen to “Bad Weather” here and let us know what you think about the album.

 

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