Shimona Kee – Simply Shimona (Independent)
“Simply Shimona” is Singapore songstress Shimona Kee’s debut album of all-original material. Back in 2010 there was a charity Christmas EP comprising covers of popular festive tunes, but here she gives her song writing talents free rein. Her voice is instantly arresting; it’s whimsical tones and childlike intimations belie a collection of songs that strike at the heart of adult anxieties, concerns and, of course, pleasures. Apart from singing, Kee plays guitar, ukulele, and piano, and various guest musicians contribute percussion, stand-up bass, cello and keys, instilling a well-rounded, almost lush surround for her songs, and transcending the limitations often faced by independent artists.
Highlights come thick and fast. The single “Sweet Company” is instantly likeable, a paean to being oneself, and living comfortably in one’s own skin. It’s evidence of Kee’s confidence both as a person and as a performer, and the latter is obvious again on “The Social Media Song”, its theme is in the title, but it’s the lilting Caribbean rhythm and reggae flecked delivery that impresses most. Perhaps my favourite is the charming “Rainy Day”, its pitter-patter arrangement bringing to mind both Virginia Astley's rural idylls and the genius Disney scores of the 1950s.