Welcome to the world of Hannah Jadagu: a delicate, hazy flavour of young adulthood currently in residence at college in New York City. Having introduced her DIY take on soulful alt-pop with her 2021 debut EP ‘What Is Going On?’, Jadagu has since swapped suburban Dallas for the hustle and bustle of NYC in what’s been a heavily transitional period in her life. And that’s without mentioning the post-pandemic baptism of fire into touring life she’s experienced recently with the likes of Faye Webster, Wet and Frankie Cosmos.
Having become disillusioned with aspects of her church upbringing, Jadagu found solace in the Tumblr indie culture and Calvin Harris anthems that dominated the 2010s, until she was eventually able to buy a one-way ticket out of Texas. “I had left the space I previously occupied for the space that I wanted to be in,” the 20-year-old told NME earlier this year about this leap of faith. It’s emblematic of her assertive mindset, and further represented by the range of different soundscapes she’s begun to explore in her music.
There are signs on ‘Aperture’, Jadagu’s debut album, of a songwriter who is beginning to find her feet in this world. Characterised by warm, crisp synth production that will speak to Arlo Parks fans, ‘Warning Sign’ spotlights this maturity: a minimalistic, R&B-fuelled anthem of reflection that grows in leaps and bounds as more elements make their way into the mix. There’s a newfound swagger and breath of fresh air, too, as Jadagu casts back to her need to break free: “Breaking all my ties to just get through.”
Closing tracks ‘Letter To Myself’ and ‘Your Thoughts Are Ur Biggest Obstacle’ look to the anxieties of both her past and present, and ‘Aperture’ is packed with these lightbulb moments. Vocally, Jadagu allows her honesty room to breathe, before gargantuan atmospheric layers of instrumental sound take over.
The moments where Jadagu embraces “Rock Hannah”, as she puts it, represent the peak of ‘Aperture’, with the infectious ‘Say It Now’ and slow-burner ‘Dreaming’ best exemplifying Jadagu’s ability to craft a memorable riff or hook. While such moments essentially serve as teaser trailers for where her songwriting might ascend to next, it leaves us wanting even more of a glimpse into Hannah Jadagu’s world. As debut albums go, though, that’s an impactful statement to make.
- Release date: May 19
- Record label: Sub Pop