Nanette has become a refreshing voice within South African R&B. 2021 found her providing a litany of attractive features which both matched and sometimes upstaged her contemporaries, this year saw her taking centre stage with her first body of work; Bad Weather. Armed with a piercing voice and a revealing pen, Bad Weather found her establishing a persona of a contemporary balladeer who’s mode of storytelling is often dripping in anxious energy. Our pick for this list is a song that finds her lyrically swirling within that anxiety whilst providing one of her best vocal performances thus far in Vent.
Vent’s production is an orchestral canvas that reeks of inner turmoil. The string arrangement in the intro alone bring you into an introspective space as the harp provides a daydreaming quality over the violins swelling with angst. By the time the bass and drums kick in with their melancholically soulful groove you know that you’re in for some mess. Nanette aptly sets the scene with an opening lyric that reads “I’m getting hot in this purple dress, you stood me up and now I’m so upset…”, as we hear her vent spiral into an existential crisis. Nanette expresses her deepest anxieties surrounding her love life and how it’s affecting her mental health as she sits with this disappointment. Vent is stacked with the melodrama that makes great R&B music and Nanette milks every moment of it with her aching performance. Her emotions seep through each tonal phrase as her harmonies call you to wallow with her. Her melismatic choices are evocative and piercing and they gradually build to one of my favourite climaxes of the year.
Vent is well-crafted R&B packed with evocative arrangements, captivating writing and emotive singing that really sells the stakes. It’s Nanette’s bold cry for attention and she has had mine from the moment it was released. It’s a cathartic song that has been on replay through countless shower concerts and solo karaoke sessions as the need to vent is ever-present.
Listen to Nanette’s All That Yazz feature here. Read more Zadok related content here.
Read the full Top 22 of 2022 here.