A Los Angeles native, the R&B/Pop songstress Lulise is set to leave her stamp on the scene as a solo artist with her new project.
Making her solo debut back in 2019 after her departure from pop duo Honey and Jude, Lulise has found herself on the watchlist of many critics.
Named as one of the HOT 100 music acts of 2019 by Music Connection Magazine, her solo material garnered a great number of positive responses. Thus, it’s not surprising that her debut EP has been met with high anticipation.
Uniquely titled “Even With No Makeup On”, the EP is full of material that showcases Lulise’s undeniable vocal strength and songwriting abilities. Exploring themes of self-love, anxiety, imperfection, Lulise describes the EP as a reflection of her experience as a hopeless romantic who keeps falling for the wrong guys and boy did she hit the nail on the end!
Primarily produced by artist/producer Pretty Sister (Superfruit, BettyWho), the EP took me on an unwanted but needed cruise of multiple emotions.
The EP’s opening track “Feel Good” is a bass-driven, Bruno Mars inspired, mood-boosting JAM that will ultimately lead you to the dancefloor. The first time I played the track, unfortunately, I was not feeling good, in fact, my mood was rather crappy – (someone stole my leftover takeaway) – but as soon as that disco-tinged beat crept in, I found myself having my own little Club Quarantine and dancing without a care in the world, thank you Lulise.
Spotlight Lyric: “If You Feel Good, If You Feel Nice, Clap Your Hands and Shake That Spice”
The next stop was “Taken”, Lulise’s top streaming song and we see why. The track explores a painful situation that is familiar to most – unrequited love. I’m currently experiencing a similar predicament, still waiting for Damon Idris to come to his senses and give me his last name…
A more chilled vibe in comparison to the opener, Lulise’s beautiful soft harmonies are put centre forward and remain the highlight of the dreamy track. The multiple beat switch-ups are an added bonus.
Leading into the nostalgia-inducing “Lovin’ You”, Lulise’s R&B roots are on full display. Reminiscent of TLC’s “Digging On You“, it won’t be surprising if you mistakenly thought this was a Babyface/Daryl Simmons penned track.
I’ve never been in love but “Lovin’ You” had me staring out the window, singing to a stranger on my drive to an interview. Seriously, the key change at 2:18 is sliding hand on the mirror, lipsync your heart out – grade A material!
Spotlight Lyric: “Tears coming soon/You’re lying next to me/ I guess I’ve been lying too”
Debut single “Read My Hips” (another fan favorite) is also included on the EP. This song is for the mature folks. Oh, we are getting our grown and sexy on with this one! I probably shouldn’t have listened to this while reading my Hinge messages as I noticed my replies started to dangerously mirror the seductive lyrics – (“Paint 10 pictures with my body” is now my new Hello how are you?)
Luilse’s rich vocals float gracefully over the slick guitar plucks and smooth beat. The whole track had me envisioning the sweetener era Ariana Grande.
“Nothing Like You” is a heart-wrenching situation that most have either gone or will go through – The rebound fiasco. You met someone new and while you enjoy their company, you have to be honest and admit your feelings for that foolish ex still lingers on.
Lulise’s talented songwriting capabilities have shone a light as she effortlessly communicates the range of emotions one feels when experiencing a new relationship following a serious breakup. A muted beat, gospel-inspired chord progression, snap clicks, and tasteful vocal runs, the track is more stripped back instrumentally in comparison to the rest of the EP and would have made a beautiful ending to the EP.
Bonus track “Taken (Bang Remix)” closes our trip on a high. Though I appreciate the nice switch up to the moody chilled vibe heard in the original track, I personally would have left the track off the album and instead kept it for the Youtube channel.
“Even with no makeup on” is a promising debut and I will certainly be keeping a close eye on Lulise this year.
Favourite track: Lovin’ You