Review

Sio’s “sbtxts” is an instinctual blend of contemporary sound, hometown roots and poetic truths

She’s Apple Music’s New Artist Spotlight of the Month, and her debut is a youthful contemplation of love and loss. She is Sio. 

sbtxts is a vastly innovative electro-pop record. While artists like Billie Eilish have pushed this genre to the forefront, Sio renews it with her jazzy intricacies and an Afro-soul confidence. Her melodies are rich and subdued, and the crystal layering of her voice is arresting. From her one-second rasp to the ease of her pitching, she moves through her range.

The lyrical familiarity in Sio’s writing is so present that it’s like we’re talking to her. From the late night intimacy of her poetic interludes, to the strong feminist themes running a parallel, Sio tells her personal tales vividly.

Her subtext is her sound. It is her prevailing harmonies, both current (“double tap”) and cultivated (“could you”), her jungle experimentation (“blu” and “800 minutes”) and her sparse electronics (“i love it”). This subtext is something we know too.

The result is no one is a stranger to her music, even those who’ve never heard it before. She’s unafraid of the industry and in commanding her vulnerability, she owns her music. More importantly though, she owns herself – a powerful statement to be making in the world today.