Esmee Denters – Crouch End Picturehouse, London, UK (23rd October 2017)

“I’m so pleased that you all came; honestly, after five years of being gone, I didn’t know if anyone would still care” gushed singer Esmee Denters, as she kicked off the launch of her new EP ‘These Days’ on Monday. The lady herself promised that this would be her “most personal work to date”, and the EP has certainly lived up to that promise. The cliché of a coming of age story is used over and over again for a reason, and Esmee’s new music wears its heart squarely on its sleeve as a grown-up that’s ready to take on the world.

The young Dutch singer’s career started in the infant days of Youtube where she was quickly snapped up by pop royalty Justin Timberlake and found herself catapulted into the world of mainstream pop. Now, after leaving that world behind, Esmee is approaching music on her own terms. After teaming up with producer Shaun Reynolds, she’s since reinvented her sound, drawing on a much more stripped down and raw musical palate.

Her launch party was staged in one of the screens Crouch End’s Picturehouse Cinema. The cinema’s plush rows were almost completely packed out, with fans flying from Europe to be there for Esmee’s triumphant return. Her whirlwind 45-minute launch combined a live Q&A, screenings of the lyric videos which accompanied each track of ‘These Days’ and two live sessions which featured a stripped down solo guitar and her incredible vocals. More than anything, the live renditions of title track ‘These Days’ and ‘Digital Age’ showed off just what Esmee can do with a space. Pitch perfect, her time away from music has given her the ability to express so much in a simple way. And that’s really what ‘These Days’ is about; simplicity and staying true to one’s message.

‘Motivation’, the first track on the EP was actually the product of a hurried studio session. The track, which was produced in a day for the BBC programme The Road to Wembley was what actually brought about the creation of the rest of the EP. “When the BBC approached me about the song, they needed it quickly. It was a challenge, because the stuff that they were asking me to sing about, like haters and critics, I mean, that’s the kind of thing that rappers talk about. How can I do it in my own way?”. The lyric video to the track kicked off the evening in a colourful explosion, and lead nicely into the rest of the EP’s more stripped-down tracks.

The launch party was a creative, multifaceted way of presenting an EP. Esmee’s break from music has allowed her to be humbled by her experiences, and that kind of integritey shines through in ‘These Days’.