After releasing a handful of singles which have made her one of the most hotly tipped breaking artists around, Priya Ragu released her eagerly anticipated debut mixtape ‘damnshestamil’ today. The mixtape was announced with the single ‘Kamali’, which was premiered by Annie Mac at Radio 1. Subsequent airplay included daytime and specialist support from Nick Grimshaw, Jack Saunders, and an A-list playlist at BBC Asian Network.
Priya continued to fuel excitement for the mixtape when she unveiled new song ‘Lockdown’ (Hottest Record on Radio 1’s Future Sounds) along with its official video. A vibrant feast of high energy beats, it demonstrates Priya’s growing command of distinctive, mainsteam-ready, pop-focused songwriting as well as the full spectrum and majesty of her voice. She swings effortlessly from a staccato flow to beautiful, free-flowing melodies as she expresses a desire for human contact – the kind that became so elusive during lockdown.
Priya says, “Lockdown was written earlier this year during a time where I felt particularly isolated from the people I love. It’s about dealing with being alone in this situation and wanting to feel the energy of another persons presence, not for love but for friendship, guidance and getting down.”
For the accompanying ‘Lockdown’ video, Priya reunited with director Dumas Haddad after their collaboration on ‘Chicken Lemon Rice’. The striking, dystopian visual metaphor for lockdown highlights two dancers who are tied to platforms in the vast desolation of an empty quarry. They’ve overseen by Priya, who plays two characters: the authoritative Priya, an edgy and charismatic personality who relishes the opportunity to keep the two dancers restrained; and the sensitive ‘lockdown’ Priya, who is open to other possibilities. The two dancers use the power and imagination of their choreography to help triumph over their differences. It’s a representation of how society can only find unity via compromise and understanding.
‘damnshestamil’ more than lives up to Priya’s burgeoning reputation. You’ll have a feel of what to expect from her previous singles (‘Good Love 2.0’, ‘Chicken Lemon Rice’ and ‘Forgot About’) but Priya raises the bar to take her glorious, genre-blurring “Raguwavy” sound global. Her voice is versatile, showcasing an uplifting, world class talent to match her next generation sound. The sonic touchstones of her Sri Lankan roots give the mixtape a truly unique edge, not only taking R&B and electro-pop in bold new directions but doing so in a way that feels entirely natural.