There are three categories of music which producers refer to as “money”: pop, country and Christian rock. Inez Jasper, a talented songwriter and exquisite vocalist released her first album, the self-produced Singsoul Girl, in 2008, when she was a soul singer. Today, Inez has married her spot-on vocals to the pop genre and what rewards this move will make in her career have yet to be seen.
The new album, Burn Me Down, released August 1, is a 35-minute romp through buzzy electronic beats, Casio-inspired clap tracks and suggestive lyrics rife with innuendo. Inez has all but abandoned the cultural content found in her first album -- which contained such tracks as “Sto:lo Strong” and “Stick Game Jam” -- and if I had to guess I’d say the reason for this would be an attempt to break through the “buckskin ceiling” many native artists hit while promoting themselves as “native artists”.
In The Spirit Arts Festival poster featuring art by the author.
It could be the money, realizing the gargantuan following other pop artists have -- consider the YouTube numbers on Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe": 477 million views, 1.6 million likes, and 126 thousand thumbs-down. There is no question that Inez is the whole package: talent, drive, stunning beauty and a great commitment to being a good performer. However, I’m a little disappointed at the polished-plastic quality of all the songs on Burn Me Down -- it makes them quite radio ready, and she will likely find success with that. This album is saved by tracks such as "Fallen Soldier," a story song about men coming back from battle with (real voice) traditional chanting as it opens, and the heartbreak love ballad where her talents as a vocalist are finally featured.
Promoting yourself as a pop artist can be a slippery slope. Too far down, and the artist becomes less an individual and more of a product, something built from someone else’s musical vision. Inez, your people need you, and the youth need you, just as you are.
For more information: inezjasper.com