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Ashaine credit Olivia Brissett

Ashaine White rewrites the rules of grunge-soul with “White Flag”

20 June 2024, 17:00 | Written by Lucy Tessier

Calling on a rich assortment of contrasting genres, Ashaine White’s latest single "White Flag" juxtaposes velvety vocal textures with blistering guitar tones to create an effortlessly raw take on failing relationships

It’s not often this early into a new artists’ journey that the stars align whilst signs of musical greatness begin to surface, and Ashaine White is no exception to this. Hailing from North London, her single “White Flag'' is the first instalment from her forthcoming EP, and it might just be the missing link for soul and grunge enthusiasts eager to discover a song that bridges the gap between their contrasting listening repertoires.

Whilst it is impossible to deny that White’s vocal performance in her latest release conjures inspiration from fellow soft-spoken yet deafeningly soulful artists such as Arlo Parks, Lianne La Havas, and Jorja Smith, her eclectic sound bares an uncanny resemblance to that of Jeff Buckley. White’s ability to garner her listeners’ attention from the first note positions her songwriting on equal footing with Buckley, as “White Flag” seamlessly shifts from a melancholic acoustic ballad into a devastatingly heartfelt portrayal of romantic longing.

"It’s about the relationships that you look at and wonder why both parties are still involved, and how long it’s taking to come to that realisation," White explains of the track. "Surrendering to the idea that it’s a sinking ship instead of pretending there’s still something to fight for."

Although there’s sometimes the tendency for artists to navigate the theme of tainted love in a cliche manner, this is certainly not the case for White. Married with the cacophonous screeches of guitar driven instrumentation, the explicit lyrics of “White Flag'' offer a bitter but honest depiction of the emotional toll of failed relationships on the human psyche. In the same essence as her other stirring releases on similar topics such as “Right Here” and “Lock and Key”, there is an undeniable rawness at play in White’s writing that leaves your whole heart overcome with profound soreness.

Listener experience is undoubtedly a fundamental part of the reason why White was nominated for an Ivors Academy Rising Star award in 2022, as her intimate sound invites spectators to insert themselves into narratives of her songs as though they are living them in the present moment. Regardless of our emotions prior to listening to her music, White’s narrated experiences become our own - her burning frustration is our burning frustration. Amongst all of the song’s unexpected twists and turns, at its core is a songwriter who is not only sure of herself but also the direction that she wishes to steer her visceral musical landscape in.

With a slot supporting the golden girl of neo-soul, Corinne Bailey Rae, at Somerset House next month, the sky's the limit for this future sellout artist. It goes without saying that Ashaine White is certainly a name listeners are going to want to remember.

"White Flag" is out now. Find Ashaine White on Instagram.

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