Not too long ago we introduced CelebMix readers to London singer-songwriter Hollie Carmen. Following on from the release of singles Warrior Love and Butterflies in 2018, this year saw Hollie release Plan B; the first track to be taken from her debut EP of the same name. Today the Plan B EP was released, when we were previously told by the lady herself that the EP would be like a snippet of her diary we truly couldn’t wait to have a listen. Read on for our track-by-track review of this incredible debut release.
The title track is the only previously released track, but this doesn’t stop it being an incredibly powerful opener. Thanks to its undeniably catchy and repetitive melody it takes moments to get stuck within your head. Hollie’s unique vocals are truly captivating when singing of the realisation that she’s “Never gonna be anyone’s plan B”, this powerful lyric can apply in many situations from a friendship to a relationship, it’s when you’ve realised your self-worth. There’s a huge dose of sass within this track which Hollie puts across perfectly, you want to stand up and sing along to the track after having a self-love realisation. With the twinkling of keys to close this track, it feels like the perfect introduction and opening entry to Hollie’s musical diary.
Never Thought I’d Be That Girl
Previously unheard Never Thought I’d Be That Girl from the onset works perfectly with Plan B, not wanting to be second best becomes a key theme within the track. This slower track feels incredibly intimate thanks to Hollie’s vocals taking the centre stage with a simplistic musical backing complimenting each other flawlessly. The storytelling lyrics make it easy to shut your eyes and put yourself right in the heart of the action; “Might be making a mistake but it’s time I walk away”. It feels like the predecessor to Plan B and the steps taken to reach that end realisation. This reflective track is one we all need to listen to especially if, like many, you’ve ever experienced being weak for someone special despite thinking “never thought I’d be that girl” we’ve all been there, haven’t we! But Hollie has the perfect musical advice for you to listen to. As the track progresses the layering of Hollie’s vocals makes it feel like a competition to see who can outdo each other with power. We can’t help but love this clever producing style from Lauren Faith as you sit in awe of how well this works.
The Way ft Aaron Unknown
We’re big fans of collaborations and this one with South London rapper Aaron Unknown is definitely one of our favourites of the year so far. The track starts off deceivingly slow before turning in to a poppy number which definitely wasn’t what we were expecting but we’re really glad it did! Across the release, the choruses provided have stolen the show by stealing our attention and this is no exemption. The self-love lyrics are absolutely everything we need to be reminded of as we find ourselves singing along to “Lately I’m feeling on top of the world, knowing I’m first, doing me for a while now”. Aaron’s short rap section maintains this feel-good factor helping to create a sweet, supportive narrative across this track. As we’ve worked our way through this release it appears going into 2019 and the next stage of her career Hollie Carmen is in a great place not only within herself but also musically as this release highlights the very best of the upcoming star.
Rounding off the release is This Song, with a slower and more emotive setting created from the start we feel like we’re being set up for heartbreak and sadness in this track. Vocally this is the strongest offering we’ve had from Hollie Carmen with absolutely exquisite harmonies which bring goosebumps to our bodies. Throughout this release, we’ve been offered tracks which are faultless from the production to the arrangement but This Song excels above the rest. It feels as if Hollie is opening her diary and mind, wide to the listener through lines such as “Do you miss me now your power’s gone? Didn’t think I’d be that strong to walk away” show of a woman who has gone through a challenging journey but risen above it as shown through the stories told across the release. Simple is often effective and we believe this has stopped any attention detracting from the important, soulful vocals being sung. We could say skip to this track as it’s a must hear, but instead, Plan B deserves every bit of your attention and to be listened to from beginning to end.
Plan B is the perfect introduction to Hollie Carmen and her heart on her sleeve writing style throughout her music. Across this four-track release we feel as if we’ve gone through a journey with Hollie and seen her come out on the other side as a powerful woman rising above issues and leaving situations which aren’t good for her. All these negative experiences have been turned into an incredible body of work in the form of the Plan B EP, making this an incredible debut from the upcoming singer-songwriter.