- 07 Nov 19
Our ‘Hot for 2019’ pick delivers with assured debut.
Mikaela Strauss announced herself with a flourish with 2018 single ‘1950’. That belter pitched her as a star-crossed torch singer for the LGBT community. But she can cut all sorts of figures, as confirmed with a stunning Irish debut at Dublin’s Academy earlier this year, at which she giggled, preened and vaped – all lapped up by an audience that couldn’t stop swooning.
The performance suggested there was more to the 20-year-old Brooklyn native than big lungs and a flair for closing-time melancholy. She doubles down on that impression with a rollicking first album that bounces between hands-in-the-air stadium synth (‘Hit The Back’) and wee hours self-help (‘If You Think It’s Love’).
For all its confidence, the record was apparently borne of a period of intense stress as she struggled to match expectations set by ‘1950’. Her biggest hit is conspicuously absent – a gesture of immense ballsiness that suggests Strauss has no intention of being defined by past achievements. Instead, she comes out swinging with a long-player by turns swaggering and fragile, and always keyed into an electrifyingly specific vision.