Welcome to Boombox Blitz, an artist spotlight series showcasing overlooked singers, songwriters and musicians who are quietly taking over the world.
Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, according to a preliminary report released by The New York Times. Based on early data from medical examiners, coroners and state health departments across the country, an estimated 54,000 individuals died last year, stemming from a sweeping opioid epidemic, not to mention various other substances. Addiction, a mental illness in all regards, is a tough demon to vanquish and too many are never able to recover. The shockwave it emits leaves a fiery path of destruction–with loved ones and friends caught in the aftermath. The conversation starts here.
Pop up and comer Vaness Alegacy bides her time with her debut single: the glossy, beat-heavy jam called “Hoping & Waiting” serves as a harrowing reminder that sometimes you just have to let go. “[This song] tackles the struggle of watching someone you love deal with addiction,” she said, “[and] speaks to the impact addiction has on ones family and friends and paints a picture of what its like to watch someone struggle with something so deep and painful and destructive. Knowing in the end, you can’t help them if they themselves don’t think they need it. Letting go isn’t the same as giving up. It’s just sometimes the only option.”
Over stormy percussion and tidal-force waves of synths and guitar, Alegacy doesn’t hold back. Her vocal rips through the lyrics, both vulnerable and fearsome. “Back in the day, you could have done anything. The world began to change, and you lost everything,” she recalls, the pain beginning to tear into her throat. “You couldn’t deal with the pain, so the bottle kept it away. That’s why I’m not going to stay…”
Bitterness, anger and sorrow drench the record, juxtaposed with the bright and shiny production flourishes. The throbbing drums are urgent, as the melody slides in and out of painstaking empathy and a tragic, but insightful, decision. Even the vocal distortion on the bridge carries a tremendous and desolate weight. “I know it’s hard for you. I know it hurts. I’m always here for you, for what it’s worth,” Alegacy pours out onto the hook, coming to terms with the brutal reality. “I can’t do this for you, even if I could. This is all on you, baby.”
“So, I’m hoping and waiting,” she later wails, as the arrangement opens up with gentle flickers of guitar and airiness bubbles around her. It’s an intervention to the thousandth degree.
Alegacy is the former lead singer of a rock band by the same name. They released a self-titled album in 2012, and a bandmate once described their sound as “what you get if Rihanna and Pink had a baby, Haley Williams of the rock band Paramore babysat and the UK’s R&B/pop star Jessie J lived next door.”
But Alegacy was itching for a solo career, so she departed soon after. Her first solo release came with “Change of Heart,” a vibey, R&B slow-jam. Now, fresh-eyed and willing to be transparently honest, she is poised to live up to her full potential.
Spin “Hoping & Waiting” below:
Photo credit: Dean Rosen