The mark of a great pop song is its ability to make the familiar feel brand new. To say something that’s been said a million times, only in a way that’s never been said before. The same is true of great pop artists. They draw influence from sounds and styles that came before, but deftly transform the recognizable into an electrifying new vision. South African indie-pop artist Sulene knows this better than just about any up-and-comer, and not simply because she writes great pop songs (which she does) or crafts synth pop that is simultaneously dancey and impossibly heart-rending (which she also does). It’s because no other artist today better represents the transcendence of the familiar into the authentically new.
You have likely seen or heard Sulene before, whether you know it or not. You may have witnessed her blue hair lighting up late night TV when she’s toured the world as Nate Ruess of fun.’s guitarist. You’ve probably heard her music scoring your favorite Showtime drama, Al Pacino movie, or Verizon commercial. You may even know her as the rocker chick avatar shredding on Rock Band VR. That’s all Sulene. But like a great pop song, it’s the new terrain this multifaceted artist traverses that will win you over the most.
Sulene’s “blissful bedroom synth pop” is garnering some well-deserved praise in her adopted home of Brooklyn. With St. Vincent-worthy guitar riffs that glide over pulsing 80’s drum beats, the indie-pop powerhouse has earned rave reviews from the likes of Billboard, Village Voice, and Buzzfeed for her debut EP Strange (2017). Sulene is poised for a breakout year in 2019 with brand new releases.