She’s only 18, but Zlata Mai has already released a dashing debut record between pop and folk.
It’s easier to get in the spotlight when you have access to resources. In particular, if your father is a well-established producer leading one of the most prominent agencies in the country. You can get good vocal tutors, access to studios and musicians, even spots on regional festivals and tv.
Zlata Mai is lucky to have a well-connected father, you can easily notice that she had been in a really good position to develop her performing skills. Still more importantly she was lucky to be born with natural talent. Her first LP “Bukva v Nebe” (“Буква в небе”), or “A Letter in the Sky”, is very impressive, more so when you learn that she writes her own material and that she’s only 18.
In it’s core this is a straightforward pop record, with a high quality, but a bit old-fashioned arrangements reminding of the blissful times of Enigma. Zlata uses this modest foundation to showcase her forceful, poignant vocals and rather wild (even if a bit teenage) space age imagery.
Lyrics combine cliché pop-romance with astronomical concepts and celestial bodies relationships. They are a bit clumsy but it only adds to overall sincerity and authenticity of the record.
What isn’t clumsy, is Zlata’s vocal. It’s not without its faults too, but it’s that kind of small imperfections that create difference between soulless and real. Other than that, it’s forceful, affectionate, flexible and very, very recognizable – with only a slight hint of folk technique on top.
Better still, the album is strong melodically. First, second and the last tracks in particular are very well crafted.
All this together creates a dashing debut record, refreshing, unique and a pleasure to listen to. The only flaw I may mention is that stylistically the whole thing is a bit ’90s (Enigma, hello again), which may limit the audience and generally is unexpected from a teenager. But let’s see wht her next records sound like.