Listening to Mae Simpson’s soulful singing voice, it’s nearly impossible to believe this Minneapolis, MN artist is originally from that Midwestern state. Turns out, she’s not. She’s originally from South Carolina, which makes a whole lot more sense, and she’s sure one talented bluesy singer.
The are parts of her single “Chandelier & Bloom” where she hits some really pretty high notes. Yes, she can belt out those vocals, but she also knows how to sound equally sweet. She exhibits each of these skills throughout this fine single.
The track begins gently with soft electric guitar. This leads to a slightly jazzy guitar rhythm backing. After a short time, though, this redheaded singer begins her vocal with a few clipped lines. Her singing then escalates to a point where she vocalizes with just a bit of a catch in her voice. It’s just a minute into the song, however, when Simpson’s singing goes into that higher register that is just so doggone appealing. Then during the song’s second verse, Simpson enunciates it with a touch of a quiver in her voice. These little differences keep the song interesting and surprising for the listener. Sure, she could have just sung it the same way all the way through, but Simpson is just too much of a professional to limit herself in that manner. Instead, she finesses her way through it, revealing differing skills with nearly every phrase. This is a true singer’s singer.
About halfway into the recording, Simpson multi-tracks her vocals, which is even more of a good thing. She just has the kind of voice one loves listening to. A little like Bonnie Raitt’s, although not – at least not on this track – quite as sassy. One imagines, though, that she also has a bit of sass in her, as well. However, that kind of attitude is not called for on this song. Instead, she sings it – albeit in a variety of ways – with tangible sincerity. This is not meant to be a vocal showcase, but a lyrical forum to express honesty, instead.
It’s on the word “Bloom” where Simpson sings the high part, even giving that word a bit of a vocal whoop toward the end of the song. In the video for the song, Simpson can be seen moving more deliberately near the song’s conclusion. She’s really getting into it, and it makes the viewer/listener begin to feel this same enthusiasm.
Then during the last minute or so, Simpson sings and behaves much more assertively. She’s assertive, that is, without sounding or appearing aggressive or demanding. It’s as though the emotions have been building up throughout the song and are coming to a boil at this point. Also, sonically, one can hear horns enter the mix during this song’s last part. This transforms the track into a kind of old school soul song. Back in the day, nearly all soul songs featured a horn section. It’s as though these horns are adding support and a type of amen corner to her vocal plea.
There’s plenty to truly enjoy about this song, and many reasons to listen to it repeatedly.