Damn, Anita Blay is badass!
For one thing, you can tell just by looking at her that she’s an odd duck. She is prone, for instance, to wearing poof-y shouldered ’80s jackets and things with polka dots. She claims to have intentionally gained weight because, as she put it in a recent Guardian article, “I don’t want to be ‘pretty’. I don’t aspire to be like the Pussycat Dolls…I want to be an artist who people can believe in.”
But it’s Blay’s songs that really do it. The twentysomething British songwriter goes by the name thecocknbullkid, and she has created her own musical world, one filled with equal parts quirky soul-pop (Macy Gray-ish), zingy synth-pop (Yaz-ish), and lo-fi computer zings (Midnight-Star-ish).
The music all coalesces around Blay’s fearless, empowered lyrics—she’s like Beyoncé but with, like, you know, a soul. In fact, the lightheartedness of Blay’s keyboard-laden melodies is deceiving, because Blay’s more than willing to call a person out—even if it’s to a thumping beat. Take the jazzy “On My Own”:
All I associate you with/is being provocative/but stupid…
I still think you’re beautiful/You’ll never be as smart as me, though…
On my own again/because I can’t take you anywhere
Such lyrics, clever, occasionally nasty, and singularly ballsy as they are, resemble the poetic mouthfuls uttered by another unique singer from the British Isle—Morrissey, whom Blay cites as a heavy influence.
Thecocknbullkid’s debut EP, Querelle, came out last month on IAMSOUND records, and while we’re waiting for word of a US tour, let’s enjoy these thecocknbullkid videos, shall we?
First, we have the excellently named “I’m Not Sorry”:
Next, the aforementioned “On My Own”:
The song names alone infer what the songs and videos prove: Blay’s unapologetic, independent, and definitely has star power. With appearances on the Jools Holland show and at the giant Glastonbury Festival, she’s definitely blowing up. Let’s hope she crosses the pond soon.