Hazel Iris is a folk singer/songwriter originally from California but now based in London. She studied opera as a soprano in Germany, then moved to London which influenced what she describes as a ‘far from conventional sound’. I would describe her music as alternative folk/pop and place it in the same category as female artists like Kate Bush, Tori Amos and Laura Marling.
This song, Watterson, is a folk song with a strong classical element, featuring a sophisticated orchestral arrangement. Hazel has a crystalline, mesmerising voice and her classical training shows in the quality of her performance. Beginning with just voice and plucked harp, the arrangement gradually builds with mandolin, cello and then full strings entering one by one.
The vocal melody is haunting, the chorus backed by some lush, ethereal backing harmonies. Lyrically, it is as otherworldly as the music; the poetic words paint a mysterious picture, with the enigmatic figure of Watterson bringing to mind the darkly romantic literature of Emily Bronte.
Overall, this is a compelling and beautiful song that shows considerable songwriting craft, both musically and lyrically. She has instinctively found her own style and sound as an artist, and it’s surely only a matter of time before she receives deserved recognition from both the critics and those of the listening public who can appreciate a unique talent.
By Alex Faulkner
I’m 34 and a freelance music journalist, as well as a composer and producer. I’ve written reviews for UK newspapers and music websites. I run my own blog, reviewing the best new bands and artists . I’m very passionate and knowledgeable about music and that shows in my writing.