Samantha Urbani – Showing Up
Samantha Urbani has had an eclectic career, initially as part of the acclaimed but short-lived indie-pop group Friends, who released their only LP in 2012. Since she has collaborated with other artists and provided music for film and TV. Urbani now returns with her debut solo record, Showing Up, which, like the music of Friends before it, draws from a myriad of influences from an array of genres, making for a fascinating listen.
The Prince-inspired title track instantly sets the tone with a delicious groove that never lets up. While it may possess a funk rhythm, it still feels contemporary. One Day at a Time has a wry sense of humour, speaking about rejecting labels and archetypes, and acts as a strong showcase for Urbani’s vocals.
Fine Lines begins with an almost hip-hop drumbeat, a throwback to the likes of Grandmaster Flash. As it evolves it brings in some other elements, like piano, that initially might seem out of place but work well within the soundscape.
Common Sense continues the more experimental trend, with some subtle woodwinds and jazz instruments being brought into play in its second half, after a drum-based opening. Lyrically it focuses on half-baked relations.
Isolation is more of an electronic pop track, a slight departure, offering a glimpse at a different side to Urbani. An Opportunity is one of the most stunning pieces on record, a soaring melodious track that captures all that makes her sound work so well, ruminating on a new start and rebuilding a relationship.
Evidence meanwhile has a relentless beat that recalls disco and funk acts of the past, working well in contrast to some of the other styles dabbled in. Far from being a mere homage, this hammers home that this is a chameleonic artist, capable of working in an array of styles to fine effect. More Than a Feeling is a slower track with a sense of darkness to it, that gradually builds as it unfolds.
Showing Up is a fine debut for an artist who has gone through several iterations over the years and worked in numerous styles. This is fully evidenced here with a collection of pop songs that draw on elements of house, electronic, funk, disco and more, resulting in a constantly engaging, energetic and infectious work that pays tribute to previous acts while feeling urgent. There are plenty of signs of promise for Urbani to become a successful solo act following the acclaim she received with Friends.
Showing Up is released on 22nd September 2023. For further information or to order the album visit Samantha Urbani’s website here.
Watch the video for the single More Than a Feeling here: