In 2018 I wrote a review in Vents Magazine of Whitney Tai’s performance in the intimate Hollywood venue, Bar20, calling her “an astounding creature who could convert notes into feelings”. I recall as she sat on the edge of the tiny stage barely three feet from me that she made everything in the world disappear except her music and me.
At that moment I realized that here was a woman who could combine melody, magic and mystery, not into just songs, but into other universes, and carry a listener through them. I also realized that there is nobody like her and probably never would be.
Since that concert 5 years ago, Tai has created a body of work that demonstrates that she is one of the most brilliant musical lights of our time. From her debut album Metamorphosis to her wondrous “Dreamcatcher” (also produced by Harry Vato), the magic of her music has only gotten more powerful. And she has multiplied that magic a thousand times over by teaming up with Vato on “Free Time”.
Starting deep, gravely, and then rising up, riding Vato’s beats like a winged horse, soaring with urgency, feeling, power and inspiration, leaping from the personal to the galactic, the song picks you up, swings you around the dark side of the moon and then pulls you back into her arms in a electro pop triumph.
“Free Time” rides on the groove Vato lays down, taking you through a progressive pop adventure with different worlds in its sections, managing to be punchy, catchy, danceable, thought provoking and deeply felt – all in a 3 minute (less actually) electro pop song that tells you – no, lets you understand – the need to fill your time with humor, patience and kindness .
The result is a musical E-ticket ride from Tomorrowland. No one can do it like Tai, especially when Vato is steering the rocket.
Whitney Tai is more than a brilliantly talented singer and songwriter; she is an innovator in pop and electro pop. She takes chances, she pushes the musical envelope, she takes pop and electronic music to new places, creating a path that others can follow – and have. She has built not only a body of work that will last and inspire others, but she has expanded the definition, and thus the audience, for pop and electro pop. “Free Time” and her collaboration with another trailblazer like Harry Vato has once again pushed the envelope and shown us the other dimensions that pop and electro can inhabit.
And to think I was just three feet away from her in a tiny club in Hollywood, knowing only that the creature in front of me was converting notes into feelings.
“Free Time” (2:57) written by Whitney Tai Vlasaty and Riccardo Dessi
Performed by Whitney Tai and Harry Vato
Produced by Harry Vato; Mixed and Mastered by Tim Janssens
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