After releasing two EP’s—2015’s Strange Darling and 2017’s Give It To Me—Los Angeles singer-songwriter Miya Folick has shared her debut album in the form of the starkly titled Premonitions, which is characterized by her jaw-dropping vocal range. Her larger than life vocals derive, in part, from her classical training, but she also has the kind of pipes that just don’t seem teachable.
Soaring, diverse instrumentation laced with heavenly vocal loops make up the album’s foundational backsplash, but her singing is the biggest part of this record’s allure. The circling, mystical opening of “Thingamajig” foreshadow a voice that continually surprises and shines. In a similar way that Florence and the Machine’s vocals would lift the quality of any song, Miya Folick also accomplishes this, but it’s unfair to dismiss the strength of Folick’s songwriting. She writes songs that are wholesome and relatable, but in a way that’s emotionally and uniquely insightful, qualities which wholesome and relatable pop sometimes lacks.
On the euphoric “Stop Talking,” she challenges typical pop conventions by refusing to tell listeners, “You need to sit here and listen in great detail why this boyfriend didn’t pan out.” Instead, she offers the alternate route—not wasting time chiding the actions of a person who’s not worth it. Against the sound of rollicking bass and while admitting she’s occasionally launched into similar chatter in the past, she sings with grace, “We will become the words we say.” The title track also displays unmistakable maturity and intelligence as she instructs a loved one to stop allowing her to get away with wrongdoing, “You reward my bad behavior…To be truly kind, challenge my mind.”
If you jump from “Stop Talking” to “Deadbody,” you might be astonished that you’re listening to the same voice. She quickly shifts from sassy and shiny to defiant and gritty as she displays great depth and resilience on the #MeToo themed “Deadbody.” On songs like “Stock Image” and “Thingamajig,” she exhibits an otherworldly, operatic beauty, while on “Freak Out” and “Cost Your Love,” there’s a bouncy, sugary and simple joy marked by frenetic synths, grounding guitars and spry percussion. You’d be hard pressed to find a song from this year that’s more fun than “Freak Out” and more badass than “Deadbody.”
Even the largest songs have a clear sense of intimacy while introspective tracks like “Baby Girl” and “What We’ve Made” are distinctly grand. Her album ends on a more relaxed note with “What We’ve Made,” which is a perfect metaphor for the album. She sings, “We make tiny happinesses in each moment,” which is exactly what this record feels like. She handcrafts everyday situations into something angelic yet relatable and celebratory yet poignant. Her appeal extends well beyond the realms of pop as there’s a distinct, developed lyrical voice and a dynamic, extraordinary literal voice that makes 2018 feel much less scary and isolating and much more pure and magical.