Nina June sets a new standard for herself with ‘Paradigm’

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Recommended Tracks: “Your Surrender,” “Moon Over the Sun,” “Savannah”
Artists You Might Like:
ROSIE, Emily James, Bre Kennedy

We may not always be aware of the lessons we learn day after day, the experiences we take with us into each year that passes. They accumulate slowly and discreetly until we encounter moments that show us how we have grown older or wiser, like finding the courage to take charge during a work meeting or being emotionally ready to handle a breakup. For Amsterdam-based artist Nina June, her personal growth is evident in her music, as she has always been able to share her stories and observations through her songs. Her latest EP, Paradigm, continues to document Nina’s evolution as a writer, performer, and person. She approached this project differently than in the past, her pregnancy inspiring her to be more confident with the creative choices she makes and the chances she takes as an artist. In the end, we get an EP that redefines her standards.

There are several songs on Paradigm that feature collaborations with Nina’s labelmates. On “Your Surrender,” she teams up with indie singer-songwriter Emily James. Together, they share a story about hesitation in a relationship. With sweet melodies adorning these reserved feelings, they sing, “Maybe all of my doubts are just empty / Something about this feels easy / And I’m not used to giving in,” seeing that there is nothing to fear in opening up to this other person. There is also “Wish You Well,” which features Old Sea Brigade. Over the acoustic-driven sound, Nina and Old Sea Brigade bring a warmth and a breeziness that dispels the tension in the lyrics. We are told the story of two people who need each other even though they want to give each other up. They believe that there is something worth saving in the relationship, which is evident in the lines, “Give it another try when we don’t want to recognize who was wrong / Maybe we got tired, but I swear there’s still desire after all.” Nina has shared that the choruses mimic the constant fighting and making up that goes on between the couple.

Elsewhere on the EP, we hear a couple of solo tracks. There is a darkness to the title track, brought on by the ominous piano and Nina’s haunting vocal delivery. Her voice dances over the piano chords, dipping in and out of the minor tones with ease. Meanwhile, the lyrics play out like an elegant piece of poetry, lines like, “Let’s start a dance of silhouettes / For an evening intertwined by our loneliness,” making us think and feel deeply. It touches on that feeling of growing up and entering into new situations, which are themes also found on “Savannah.” On this folk rock song, Nina pays homage to a woman who she never met but drastically changed her life. Over the edgy guitar and drum work, she gives us a little backstory with, “I couldn’t turn a blind eye / Between these walls of stone / You filled the space I once called home.” Still, she appreciates all that transpired because she would not be where she is today if this person was not in her life.

These four tracks were previously released as singles, so fans are already familiar with most of the EP. They have yet to hear “Moon Over the Sun,” which is the newest offering on the project. A joint effort with folk singer-songwriter Joshua Hyslop, “Moon Over the Sun” conveys the beauty of perfect timing. There is forward-moving momentum to the song, made all the more so with sprightly guitar pings and flourishes. We get the sense that time has finally brought two people together who were in each other’s orbit for so long, the magnitude of the moment made complete in the lines, “You were walking slowly while I was on the run / Circles overlapping, moon over the sun / Now I know I was never really lost / Now I know our paths were bound to cross.”

With Paradigm, Nina June dives in further than she ever has before, bringing us intimate songs that are full of life and longing and celebration. The compelling stories of giving in, starting over, trying new things, and finding peace are stories that come with the new phase of Nina’s life, and they all complement each other in a powerful way. They give us beauty without the compromise of dimension, making Paradigm a solid listen and a unique step forward for Nina as she continues her journey through this next chapter of her life.

You can listen to Paradigm on platforms like Apple Music, SoundCloud, and Spotify.

Keep up with Nina June: X // Instagram // Facebook // TikTok // YouTube // Website

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