Quarantine life forced us to lean heavily on methods of escapism this year. Here at SBHQ, our distraction rotation includes exercise, TV/movies, reading, prayer/meditation, sleep and, of course, music. Sometimes it’s a particular genre or a favorite album on repeat. But sometimes, it’s simply a voice. A voice that brings calm and provides a soothing escape from the chaos that surrounds us. And right now, that voice is Dani Darling via her latest EP Mage.
The project is a superb fusion of vintage jazz, alternative soul and ambient chillwave. Against this transcendent backdrop, Dani’s dreamy vocals find a home among the clouds. Intimate songs like “Reaching” and “S + M” feel like we’re gliding with the breeze, while “All Stars,” “Mage” and “Herald” find us dancing through the stratosphere. She ponders, “What if I told you what we’re made of? What if I told you what we are?” It’s a recurring thought woven throughout the set, invoking a distinct feeling of déjà vu. But it also reminds us that these delicate melodies are imbued with profundity.
Ms. Darling expounds on the creative process, revealing, “I wanted to create a moment; a snapshot of my journey this year, from bewilderment to self-empowerment, and everything in between… Through my personal experience, I wanted to show the world that [Black women] are magical, and we can create our own world if we remember who we are and what we’re capable of. If we remember we’re stars we can begin to fulfill our destiny, and we can shine light on the world.”
Preview Mage below then stick around for the Kyla McGrath-directed visuals for the lo-fi title track. In addition to celebrating Black femininity, the entertaining clip was loosely inspired by the bold women and daring car chase scene in Quentin Tarantino‘s Death Proof. While we wait to see what’s next for Dani Darling, download the album and keep up with the artist via Twitter and IG.