London-based Canadian producer, singer and songwriter Rhi has returned with a new single and video, “Swagger”, out today via Tru Thoughts – watch + share via YouTube – announcing her sophomore LP, The Pale Queen, is due to arrive October 4. The Pale Queen follows the phenomenal debut Reverie which received support from BBC Radio 1, BBC 6Music, KCRW, The Independent, Clash and Complex.
Pre-order The Pale Queen here.
“With all my tracks, I start with a beat and a melody and the lyrics will come once the music feels right”, says Rhi (akaRhiannon Bouvier). Taking its name from the David Foster Wallace novel (‘The Pale King’), Rhi’s second LP pairs simmering production with hip-hop influences driven by bass heavy beats, as Rhi creates a space for herself to evolve, both lyrically and musically, exposing each track as more honest and open than the last… “When I listen to Reverie now, it feels like I’m listening to an earlier version of myself”.
Set against a backdrop of glistening instrumentals and the sweetness of chime trees, “Swagger” sees Rhi’s chill-hop beats ooze all the laid-back self-assurance of the subject of the track, as Rhi calls out the disingenuity of those proud enough to ‘Peacock’ in public. “You like to think you’re different, the definition of cool... does your mind match the swagger?” her unambiguous plain-speaking vocals echo, as she asks the question that many fear – what is under the façade? – making it very clear that she will not be fooled. “It’s a cliché,” Rhi confesses, “but it’s what is on the inside that counts, is the underlying idea”.
Recording the video for “Swagger”, Rhi returned to her Canadian roots and headed to Vancouver, seeking out locations throughout the city that harmonized with the effortless cool of the track. Shooting with the naturally romantic lighting provided at twilight, the visuals see Rhi strutting through the city whilst a skateboarder shows what he has to offer; lurking in the shadows and skating around her in slow motion.
Alongside producers like Noah Shebib, aka 40, for his part in Drakes’ If You're Reading This It's Too Late and Burial’s emotionally intelligent and atmospheric creations, Rhi has previously cited Arca for his production on FKA Twigs’ EP2 as playing an instrumental part in inspiring her self-produced releases. “The music I listen to does of course influence me, especially in terms of my production.” Rhi explains, “I’ve been listening to a lot of rap and hip-hop since my last release - particularly from the UK scene – and other styles such as chill-hop, trap and phonk as well as lots of beat and bass driven music. I try not to be too deliberate with a song, I just let it come naturally”