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“Soul Searching” Review: Nezsa Rediscovers Herself With Her Sophomore Project

“Soul Searching” Review: Nezsa Rediscovers Herself With Her Sophomore Project

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Through introspective lyricism and soulful melodies, Nezsa navigates the complexities of life, love, and self-discovery with remarkable depth and sincerity.

By Hope Ibiale

Through Mr Eazi’s talent incubation company, emPawa Africa, artistes like Xenia Manasseh, Fave, and Joeboy have released stellar bodies of works and etched their names in the music industry. Following this path is Nezsa,  Nigerian-Canadian alternative R&B singer and songwriter. Nezsa — real name Vanessa Adaeze Enoka —  grew up listening to the likes of Yanni, Sade Adu, Aṣa, Adele, Coldplay, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey, Davido, Wizkid, and Wande Coal, and inspired by these varied sounds, she released her debut EP, Bitter-Sweet, in 2020. With the 5-track project, the budding artiste explored the possibility of becoming a true and tested star. A few years later, she is back with Soul Searching, a 6-track EP, where she reflects on past relationships, life decisions, and her journey on earth. In Soul Searching, the singer’s sultry alternative R&B and emotive songwriting shines. 

Nezsa starts off Soul Searching with “Pressure”. On this record, the artiste sings about escaping the pressure that comes with life and relationships. With lyrics like, “Tell me a secret, how do you do it? I’m still new here, treading this blue world. Life’s a B word sometimes, I try to hide”, she reminisces on her life’s journey and seeks advice from a providential force. In the second verse, she sings of someone stuck in a relationship which restricts her from being their true self. Through “Pressure”, Nezsa describes how humans struggle with life and relationships. The song’s ethereal production accommodates the singer’s vocal delivery. She glides over the song’s instrumentation, with her vocals fitting perfectly into different parts of the song, making it clear that it is a well-thought-out and deliberate effort.

On the next track, “Trouble”, Nezsa is breaking free from a toxic relationship. It appears she is no longer held back by the confines of the love affair in the previous track, as she finds her power and stands head-to-head with her former lover. She sings, “If it’s trouble that you want you will find it”. From “Pressure”, listeners will notice a tingling combination of R&B, neo-soul, and Afro-fusion that elevate Nezsa’s delivery. This combination of sounds is repeated in “Trouble”. 

Over the pensive production that layers “Technicolor Bliss”, Nezsa paints a vivid image of her perception of a perfect relationship. Although unreal, Nezsa chooses to remain entrapped in this fictitious love affair. In the second part of the song, Nezsa sings, “Is it wrong of me to choose somethin’ that I know I’d lose? For the temporary high, I’d do it. For the temporary moment with you”, questioning her choice to imagine a flawless lover and relationship, but she isn’t wrong to imagine this, most people also picture perfect relationships. 

Listeners take a deeper dive into Nezsa’s Soul Searching with “Nervous Juice”. Here, the artiste addresses her imperfections and past decisions. Flowing over neo-soul beats, she takes lucid observations in a style reminiscent of rap flows. She uses these flows to chart a new path for herself. She sings, “I refuse the victim medal I’ve been holding. I refuse to listen to the voice, I leave it behind. New frame of mind, leave all those baggage, close all the blinds”. In “Should Have Cared”, she pauses her exploration of a new path to reflect on her past relationship. The captivating drum, guitar, bass patterns, and violin arrangements interpolated into the record add to the beauty of the record.

Soul Searching Nezsa review | Afrocritik
Soul Searching tracklist

Soul Searching ends with “NWTG” which stands for “Nowhere to go”. On the final track, the artiste sings about being trapped in the warm embrace of her lover. But she isn’t complaining, she enjoys being lost in her lover’s embrace. Unlike her past relationships in “Pressure” and “Trouble”, Nezsa puts up boundaries and loves with caution. With this R&B record, she splits herself into two parts. For one part, she finds herself enjoying the confines of her blossoming relationship. On the other part, she prepares herself for the worst by building walls to protect herself.

Soul Searching | Nezsa| Afrocritik
Nezsa

The project’s title, Soul Searching, gives listeners a hint of what to expect from Nezsa. To search one’s soul is to deeply consider one’s emotions or to correct their actions. Once you listen repeatedly to what Nezsa says, you will realise that the artiste has reflected on her emotions on the project. The first track, “Pressure”, reflects on the worries of life and love affairs. In tracks like “Trouble”, “NWTG”, “Should Have Cared”, and “Nervous Juice”, she seeks to correct her complacency in her past relationships in her future relationships, while in “Technicolor Bliss”, she envisions a perfect love affair. 

Soul Searching

One beauty of Soul Searching is the lyricism. Although simple, they carry the weight of Nezsa’s imagination and emotions. She seamlessly captures the aftermath of an in-depth introspection. The project’s production works, helmed by Gbedu Boss, Grgy, Gmastered, Duxsthecollective, Lexjnr, Malik Bawa, and Denzl, complement the singer’s vocal delivery. The production created an atmosphere for Nezsa’s emotions to thrive. Soul Searching is more than an EP; it’s a testament to the power of introspection and Nezsa’s transformative journey of self-discovery.

Soul Searching marks a significant milestone in Nezsa’s journey as an artiste. Through introspective lyricism and soulful melodies, she navigates the complexities of life, love, and self-discovery with remarkable depth and sincerity.

Lyricism – 1.2

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Tracklisting – 1.2

Sound Engineering – 1.4

Vocalisation – 1

Listening Experience – 1.1

Rating – 5.9/10 

Hope Ibiale is a writer and journalist. She has a keen interest in music, film, and literature. You can connect with Hope on X @hopeibiale and via email: hopeibiale@afrocritik.com. 

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