The Michigan-bred, LA-based singer-songwriter Hope Waidley releases her debut EP, Wonder - a vivid new project with a gritty and multi-dimensional voice that pierces the soul.
A full range of vocal talents and openhearted songwriting is put on display in Wonder. Across the five-track EP, Waidley's vibrant storytelling lyricism and natural raspy voice provide ample character within each track. Powerful and passionate vocals are contained within a lace of delicate guitar strumming and piano melodies that envelop the listener.
The EP's opening title track "Wonder" is a light and airy introduction to the purest form of Waidley. A self-taught singer, lyricist, and guitarist, this intro is a no-frills acoustic session with a slight folk-rock influence that highlights the raw power of Waidley's voice. A simple guitar chord and melody is all that's needed to deliver a vocal performance of ethereal beauty that battles the melancholy undertones.
Tracks like "It Rains In Michigan" and "Born Again" further elevate Waidley's poetic storytelling to provide moments of candid confessions. The singer's natural ability to express a true sense of sincerity into each lyric is accentuated by the languid and effortless delivery. The switch between first-person professions to direct tones in the lyricism makes it clear that each track was written from a personal account. In a recent press release, Waidley shares, “Some of this EP is about the wondering and some are about the processing after I saw these stories unfold. I wonder about things all the time really, pretty curious. I think each of these songs have wonder in them; different scenarios but they all come from the same outlook. I wonder about people and feelings and perspectives, not in a bad way, I just care and care to know, care to understand, care to love. To wonder is this beautiful thing we can do in life that does not involve planning or assuming or having all the answers.. it’s simply imagining, freely and without weight yet with the possibility of truth. And now I’m going to put this music out and wonder some more.”
The closing track "Fade" is a beautiful piano-driven ballad that wraps up the emotional rollercoaster of Wonder and provides a gentle heartbreaking closure. Each lyric is delivered with unflinching and indomitable energy that leaves a truly memorable and lasting impression for the overall project.
Wonder encapsulates a youthful state of awe expressed through charming instrumentation, honest lyrics, and dynamic vocals. The musical influences nonchalantly saunter between folk-rock, alt-rock, pop, and even blues with a modernized twist. The simplicity of the production precludes any unnecessary instrumentation that would have only hindered and overshadowed the perfect subtle imperfections in Waidley's unique voice. Each track delivers a seasoned performance that contradicts the young singer's true age. With so many opportunities to inject unnecessary pop schemes in post-production, the true rawness and beauty of Waidley's songwriting take center stage in Wonder. And by doing so, we are left witness to a talented young songwriter with a heart wise in age and a promising music career that is just heating up.