Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Next Big Thing: Dancing Like It's 1975 with Ronika

As a 90's bitch that has the heart of a 70's kid, there is nothing I like more than a good disco track. The kind of disco track that makes you want to wear glittery outfits, burn up the dancefloor, and revel in the sheer fun that that era was famous for. However, since the turn of the millennium, it's been extremely hard to find music that is proper for a discotheque without being a cheesy pastiche of the past. Though artists like Lady Gaga, La Roux, and Ladyhawke made amazing music influenced by that early 80's style of pop, they could never really emulate the sound the same way. For a lot of people, disco fever never ended and though I may not be part of that generation, I still wish there was a popstar who captured everything that made the electronic ecstasy of the 70's amazing but with a modern take that would help the music endure the test of time.

That all changed in 2011 when Ronika entered the scene. Raised on the exact type of music that got everyone grooving in Studio 54, this Nottingham-born popstar decided it was her turn to put her mark on the world with her signature brand of retro electropop. Although she started out with acoustic folk songs (don't we all Roni?), she saw the light after going to a techno rager when she was 14. Her first proper release was the Forget Yourself EP that pretty much summed up this lover of the glamorous and fabulous. "Forget Yourself" and "Wiyoo" have every quality I described earlier plus the addition of Ronika's sass that immediately made it clear that she was ready to revolutionize the pop game.

Ronika Sampson takes her music very seriously and has written, produced, mixed, and mastered every one of her songs. In a world where popstars don't really have a connection to some of their best songs because 10 other writers wrote them, you have got to respect the time and energy Ronika puts into her craft. Over the past 3 years, Ronika has slowly but steadily churned out EPs, singles, collaborations and remixes. Highlights include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. The dance breakdown in "Only Only" where she declares "You will be my guy"
2. Her remix of Little Boots (who she also toured with #goodtaste) "Headphones" is many shades of glorious
3. "Automatic" is a piece of musical gold and was my 2nd favorite song out of everything that came out in 2012
4. Her collaboration "How Could I Live Without You (Make It Right)" with French DJ Herve brings the energy to every dancefloor across the world

In 2013, Ronika was poised to properly take over after releasing the truly magnificent "Rough 'n' Soothe" and making a brilliantly tropical video to accompany it. An amazingly complex trop-pop jam that makes you want to dance among neon disco balls and palm trees, it continued her reign as the premiere DIY artist that would follow the same vein of greatness that Charli XCX took to reach success. Unfortunately, Ronika took a hit to her health after an autoimmune disease knocked her out for a bit. Thankfully, Ronika made a great recovery, got married, and used the time to finish creating her debut album Selectadisc.

One of the reasons that makes me love Ronika so much is that she is a popstar that loves pop music just as much as I do. To the point that you can get excited by her music because she truly loves making it and listening to it. Her love is clear as the album was named after a childhood record shop in Nottingham that shut down. It's endearing to know that she respects the music that helped make her amazing and her album doesn't fail to live up to her expectations. Selectadisc is one of those rare albums that has no filler tracks and each song represents the core of what Ronika is as an artist: an ethereal, glamorous pop diva that captures the sounds of the past and future effortlessly. Including all of her previous hits (except "Automatic" which is an oversight Ms. Ronika), the album takes you on a journey, from dancefloor jams like "Only Only" and "In The City" to chilled out jams like "Believe It", from bouncy fun-filled pop like "What's In Your Bag" to dramatic electronic masterpieces like "Earthrise" and "Search Siren." Ronika has created one of the best records of 2014 by essentially making the best album that was not created in the 70's and 80's. I truly love Ronika and hope that she has the most success as this musical prodigy is too good to be ignored. So thank you Ronika, for letting me feel like I'm back in the glory days of the past every time I play your album.

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE: Ronika called me a babe on Twitter and my 2014 goals are now complete.