We fell in love with Swedish-Iranian vocalist Ayelle this year, revelling in the smoothly soulful vocals of devastating solo single "NBDY" and Mitchell Yard collaboration "Mary Jane". New single "small" sees her back in the studio with long-time collaborator sonn.
Scottish-Malaysian producer sonn has been in the game since 2015 – an impressive feat considering the artist is only 20 years old. On "small", he compliments Ayelle's characteristically mesmerising performance with a paired-down arrangement. Chimes jangle at random in the background of the duo's new track, with rolling, purposeful yet contained percussion harking across genre to the sounds of Bon Iver. There's no tension here, just an open-hearted build that sees sonn's thoughtful production mirror Ayelle's voice and the lyrics delivered by it. A final garnish of string samples offset "small" at its close, showcasing sonn's skills across a variety of styles without seeming overdone.
"'small' is about the insecurities that come up early on in a new relationship," Ayelle explains, "the fears and the vulnerability of it. You're letting someone in as well as their baggage and hoping you can handle it and that they can handle yours as well. It's a scary thing."
Despite her fears, this collaboration with sonn delivers a gorgeously laidback sense of optimism perhaps intentionally at odds with its vulnerable lyricism. It's the final track to be taken from the pair's EP of the same name, also featuring the two million-stream hit "Lights Out" and more recent single "Mercy".