I’m pretty sure I have t-shirts that are older than Lelia Broussard, but even at the tender age of 20, she’s already got a few albums under her belt — none of which I’ve heard, mind you, but having listened to Broussard’s new six-song EP, Waiting on the 9, I’m smitten enough to seek them out.
Broussard received her first major exposure thanks to Joan of Arcadia — the show featured her song “Secrets,” which she recorded when she was 14 — and her music has also appeared on The Hills, but she doesn’t have the wistful acoustic sound shared by most “as heard on TV” artists; her songs are rootsier, with slightly rougher edges, and unlike a lot of indie-pop singer/songwriters, she’s a singer as opposed to merely a vocalist. This distinction is made early on Waiting, with the subdued opening track, “Scared to Feel” — although it doesn’t contain many of the soul ingredients used on some of the EP’s other cuts, it gives Broussard an opportunity to glide from hushed to full-throated in a little over four minutes.
She co-wrote each of the EP’s tracks, and she displays her gift for easy melodies on the second cut, “Don’t Let Go,” a midtempo love song with a nicely layered arrangement and a big chorus, and the shuffling title track, where Broussard cops a Dusty in Memphis vibe without embarrassing herself. Some of the songs are more distinguished than others — “I’m Not Waiting” and “So Far by Far” fade into the background a little more than their fellow tracks — but they’re all eminently listenable, and the closing number, “Grass Is Greener,” is a piano-frosted blues belter that showcases the grittier end of her vocal delivery.
A lot of artists are still trying to figure out how to translate MySpace “friends” and YouTube views into actual, you know, dollars, but Lelia Broussard has done an admirable job of carving a career out of the digital frontier, thanks to talent and plenty of energy for self-promotion (and I do mean self-promotion — she e-mailed me directly to ask about submitting a copy of Waiting on the 9). Check out her video for “Don’t Let Go” (over one million views!) and then sample Waiting‘s tracks at the link above.
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