Marian Hill are a duo from Philadelphia consisting of singer Samantha Gongol and producer Jeremy Lloyd. Their unique sound combines sparse, minimal electronic beats with seductive vocals (which are often chopped up and manipulated) along with sultry saxophone. After releasing their debut single, "…
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Flawless is the word that comes to mind when thinking of Marian Hill. Overused as it may be, the word is accurate when it comes to the R&B and electronic celebration that is Marian Hill. Upon watching a live recording of Philadelphia duo, Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd, it is clear that the duo is committed to putting out a product that is of the utmost quality and creativity levels. The duo frequently features jazz improvisation by Steve Davit, which gives them a unique flavour.
The purity of Samantha’s vocal in combination with Jeremy’s feisty beats creates a quirky fusion reminiscent of Made in Heights and is best described as alternative hip hop. The incorporation of saxophone sounds creates similarities to mainstream pop, but the lyricism and the intricate quality of the music definitely sets Marian Hill apart. In simple terms, Marian Hill is what you are hearing on the radio, but far better.
Marian Hill’s debut album, Sway, was released in 2015, following the feature of the hook of “Got It” on Romanian pop star INNA’s song, “Diggy Down”. INNA credited Marian Hill for their work and this has kick-started Marian Hill’s rise to fame. I predict that by 2016, Marian Hill will make their first appearance on The Billboard Top 100.
“Whisky” is the most minimal track on the album, and that is key to its appeal. Driven by Gongol’s strong but delicate feminine vocal, the track is said to be about a female who is in control of her sexuality. “Lips” and “Got It” are rhythm driven tracks, and they are dance floor-ready, particularly for the more discerning party goer. The layered vocal on “Got It” adds an extra element to the track and creates for a fuller sound, while the wide vocal range explores the highs and lows of the keyboard.
On watching the music video for “One Time” it is easy to spot the contrasts that make Marian Hill unique. Although tiny in stature, the elegant Gongol belts out soulful sounds while Lloyd churns out eccentric beats with fantastic abandon.
The fresh sounds of Marian Hill are most definitely worth a listen. They have served as inspiration for me, and have whet my appetite for the alternative hip hop genre. It is exciting to see the new directions that the music industry is taking and the ever-growing selection of genres available for every music listening mood. Huffington Post described Marian Hill as “the answer to your musical cravings” and I could not agree more.