First, we had Dua Lipa, but now there’s a second Dua to add to your catalogue of musical goodness. Although Dua Saleh’s music is very different from the mainstream pop of Ms Lipa.
This Dua’s cuts are far deeper, far more leftfield and arguably far more intriguing. Dua identifies as gender non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns. They released their debut EP Nūr (pronounced 'noor') which means ‘The Light’ in Arabic earlier this year through Bandcamp and after numerous listens I’ve concluded it’s pretty damn special.
Nūr is full of jams that touch on jazz, pop, hip-hop and the sort of ghostly r’n’b that FKA Twigs does so well. It’s wonderfully varied but the songs seem to co-exist in a harmonious union of difference. Dua’s vocals are forceful and snappy one moment, casually half-spoken and half-sung the next (on the track Kickflip), then on the atmospheric Albany, which comes complete with some birdsong samples, all shadowy and wispy.
Lyrically there’s plenty to devour. For example on the economical opener Sugar Mama you’ll find Saleh singing of halitosis, lobster and someone who has a “pussy melting like a glacier” as the person “wonders ‘bout my flavour, those chocolate coated layers.” Then on the track Survival (streaming below) you’ll find them intoning "I am not a lover, won't you fuck right off,” as Velvet Negroni adds some extra vocal touches to develop the track into something that the likes of Massive Attack or The Weeknd would probably be pretty proud of.
Below you’ll find that tune and another titled Warm Pants. Give them a listen but make sure you check out the whole EP which you can find by clicking here. Hopefully there’s more to come from Dua Saleh soon.
Dua Saleh - Survival (feat Velvet Negroni)
Dua Saleh - Warm Pants