Sydney, Australia’s 21-year-old Nick de la Hoyde brings together the sounds and vibes of hip-hop, pop, soul, R&B, and spoken word, creating a collection of songs both unique in their breadth and depth, yet approachable and radio-friendly. His debut EP, Passion, features single “The Longest Way”, the result of a collaboration with Chicago-based hip-hop producer Lemoyne Alexander (who worked with the likes of R. Kelly and Aaliyah).
The almost soft and ethereal “Aces” opens things up. Listeners are introduced to two realities: that de la Hoyde can both sing and rap. The pop, R&B, and hip-hop track moves between emotional band boy ballad and passionate rap artist which we soon discover seems to be de la Hoyde’s preferred formula. While “Aces” is nothing remarkably unique in the current soundscape of popular music, it is a strong, pleasant beginning to the EP. “By My Side” is just as predictable and enjoyable. Listeners start feeling secure that de la Hoyde’s great rapping flow and soulful singing are a rule and not an exception. The chorus is particularly catchy both in style and in content, and the light groove of this song carries through its entirety, building up towards the last burst of energy which closes the tune.
“The Longest Way” adds two great new elements to de la Hoyde’s music: guitars and thumping drums. It’s a call to remain true to one’s dreams and to remain hopeful despite the despair the structures of society seem to actively encourage. While the flow is just as flawless, the rapping is a little more laid-back, making it more interesting for audiences typically not interested in the genre. There is a certain joy and lightness in this track that leaves listeners uplifted long after it ends.
The smooth “Passion” brings things down, opening with toned down rapping and a simple piano line. One layer a time, including a synthesiser and drums, the song builds up to a—what else—passionate ending. The closing “No Consolation” brings back tighter rapping laid on a funky and upbeat melody. It has an almost rock-like quality, with a pop chorus that lies on the contemplative side, which comes as an interesting contrast to the rest of the song. Of particular note is the electric guitar line that launches the last moments of the track.
With a sound that embraces a collection of genre and lyrics that read like journal entries, Nick de la Hoyde has put together an EP that will resonate with many a fan, as his following of well over 100,000 on Instagram can attest to. Tracks are available for streaming on Bandcamp. More information is available on his official website; follow Nick on Twitter and Instagram.