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Watch: Maxine Ashley - "Between You and I" [Premiere]

14 October 2014, 13:49 | Written by Alim Kheraj

Maxine Ashley is widely known as Pharrell Williams’ ‘protégé’, a tag that not only comes with a fair bit of responsibility, but also expectation. Luckily, Ashley has the talent and determination to deliver on both counts.

New single “Between You and I”, taken from her Moodswings EP, is a smooth slice of R&B heaven. But don’t get it twisted, this isn’t a basic drum clicks and doom wobble affair, but rather something altogether more soulful. Blending the loungey sensibilities of Alicia Keys (partly down to producer Kerry ‘Krucial’ Brothers) with the modern nu-soul of Jessie Ware, Ashley is able to convey a vintage sound with conviction. Not only that, but her vocals are almost spine tingling good – it’s clear that with her current sound she’s found her groove.

The accompanying video, directed by Lady Tragik, blends 90s chic with a colour scheme Nicki Minaj would be jealous of. The clip is placed against a backdrop of computer-generated waves, Ashley’s body appearing enlarged on the outskirts of the frame. It’s sort of a perfect fitting for the subdued song, adding texture to the track.

What’s clear is the Maxine Ashley is doing her own thing, partially guided by Pharrell’s expert hand but not force-fed his rhetoric. It’s that, plus her stellar vocals, that have us all excited.

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