There’s few words that make pop fans run for the hills faster than “authentic” and “guitars”. However, you might want to stick around for Rochelle’s debut album because it is very very good indeed. Rochelle has a natural popstar edginess to her and injects attitude into a brilliantly in-your-face album.
In 2011 Rochelle became the fourth Dutch X Factor winner and released a stripped down cover of Jordin Sparks’ epic “No Air”. With coach and producer Eric van Tijn firmly by her side she set out looking for the perfect sound to build her album around. For the next year a whole bunch of demos were recorded and a whole lot of different styles were tried out. At one point she teamed up with The Partysquad for the club/R&B-tinged theme to dance movie “Body Language”.
However, as I heard people from her label say on a Sony Music Benelux event where I saw Rochelle perform, in the end she decided: “You know what? Just give me a band to rock out with”. With her musical direction finally set in stone, everything quickly fell into place. Having carefully selected songs written by, among others, the people behind Sabrina Starke, Rochelle and a bunch of musicians got into the studio. Eric van Tijn was aided on production duties by the likes of Tearce ‘Kizzo’ Keaz of ‘Silly Boy‘ fame.
The first of the resulting songs we got to hear was lead single “What A Life“. The track takes the best bits about Jessie J and scrapes off the shiny pop gloss, till all that’s left is a raw yet approachable and damn catchy tune. Upcoming follow-up single “Untouchable” was created by Emeli Sandé and is a full-on anthem. Think “My December” era Kelly Clarkson. It’s not the only epic moment on the album “You vs. Me”, with the goosebumps inducing chorus of “Talking To My Shadow” as one of many examples.
In fact, Rochelle has opted to pack the entire album with as much power as possible. The only thing that comes close to a ballad is “Mummy’s Boy“, a musical fuck you to the man in the title that sounds reminiscent of Shontelle’s “Impossible”. On other tracks, like “Chasing Fire“, Rochelle has a touch of Gossip to her, while the verses of “Little Miss Unhappy” fit right in with Gotye. In the end though, all these influences combined result in the album being 100% Rochelle and 100% amazing.
“What A Life” by Rochelle is available on Spotify and iTunes.
“You vs. Me” by Rochelle is available on Spotify and iTunes.