As a singer, Nya just needs to be present in the studio when the recording is going down – with her voice, there really isn’t much she isn’t able to do when it comes right down to it, and in her new single “Closer Than Close,” she doesn’t mind reminding us as much. There’s a brittle quality to the harmony in this track that immediately grabs us with a passionate command that you don’t hear a lot of in pop music of any variety, but when taking into account the R&B/neo-soul qualities that this track wears so well, it makes this feature even more endearing.
The anime theme of the music video for “Closer Than Close” is perfect for the emotional subtext of the lyrics, and it definitely plays off of the lucid tone of the narrative epically well. Nya has been spending a lot of time thinking about her artistry as it’s interpreted from within the lens of this performance, and if this weren’t the case I don’t think she would be paying as much attention to the details as she does in every instance here. She’s opening up, and she doesn’t need a symphony in front of her to do so.
There are moments in “Closer Than Close” that evoke shades of an early Nelly Furtado, especially when she was in her pre-club bohemian phase, but Nya is no stranger to the comparison by now. The jazz quality in the framing of the lyrics here is the most significant alternative element in the mix, but it’s not presented arrogantly as if to draw all of our attention towards the hybrid element in this release over the actual moodiness of the music as it exists independent of any cosmetic identities here.
I keep close tabs on the international pop underground as a critic, and I can tell you without a doubt right now that Nya is growing a lot faster and more sustainably than many of her peers are, especially on the American side of the Atlantic this season. Hers is an artistry that doesn’t owe anything to the mainstream, but instead a personality that starts with her and ends with her musical bond with the vocal pop players who paved the way ahead of her. Nya’s got the talent to do amazing things with simple music, but in “Closer Than Close,” she submits something as thoroughly hard to ignore as she is.