Today marks the release of US singer-songwriter Aisha Badru’s new EP The Way Back Home. The indie-folk artist delivers deep musings in her signature whispery vocal and the new EP is a delight to hear.
The Way Back Home opens with the sombre Graves, Badru’s ode to her own past where she reflects on how far she’s come but that can never be fully buried. Strings soar against breaking waves of percussion, alluding to a storm held within. “Still back there there’s a box with our name where we buried the pain, the blame, the shame.” It’s a hard-hitting track and a rare chance to hear Badru’s vocal ascend and reach new heights.
Rooted is a gorgeous downtempo offering that will resonate with anyone who’s never felt like they could call one place home. The gentle guitars and stripped back synths are all the accompaniment needed as Badru likens finding a place where she felt at home to a plant that’s able to lay down roots. “Send your roots down through the dirt, anchoring your through the hurt. With every breath left in your spine, reaching steady toward the light.”
Title track The Way Back Home opens with plucky guitars layered over a hollow beat, giving off a cheery vibe and a folky air. Badru’s distinctive husky vocal kicks in as she sings “You and I are both the same. That’s how I know that you won’t stay” making the listener realise that perhaps the lighthearted melody conceals a story that runs much deeper. Her gravelly tones come into their own as she reaches the chorus of “As you run towards the horizon, and venture out into the cold, I will keep the fire burning, to light the way back home.” It’s a beautiful metaphor that encompasses the notion of keeping a flame alive for a loved one while they are gone in the hope that one day they will return. Badru’s angelic tones are accompanied by fleeting, ethereal-sounding backing vocals which further add to the theme of the impermanence of love.
Home is beautifully melancholic, needing nothing more than gentle percussion and heartwarming strings to accompany Badu’s angelic vocal. It’s a touching track on the theme of running away from home but always keeping it close to your heart. This can be felt in the moving lyrics such as “even when we’re far apart, I’ll always save you the cosiest seat in my heart.”
Worthwhile is a powerful ballad that grips you from the very start with the opening line of “turned on the news to see the world on fire. Riots are raging, Covid rates getting higher.” The track takes recent events such as Covid-19, rioting and the climate crisis to form the backdrop as the voice at the forefront sings our battle cry of “I know that things out there are a little wild, it is all worthwhile” and fortifies our strength within. The soaring piano instrumental elevates the track and makes it gripping and euphoric.
The EP comes to a close with Rebirth, a stunning mix of Badru’s heartfelt lyrics delivered in her signature gravelly tones, combined with poetic spoken word and atmospheric drum beats. The track nods towards Badru’s own personal growth and development, seen in lyrics such as “My legs are shaky, cry like a baby. But I’m getting a little stronger, yeah I’m getting a little stronger” and the transformation is wonderful to see. In Badru’s own words: “I used to have very low self-esteem. I thought I needed other people to validate me.”
Aisha Badru’s stunning vocal and lyricism has garnered her over 100 million streams and a growing European fanbase. “My music career has healed a huge part of me,” says Badru. “I have had to face every single insecurity about myself pursuing this life path. I’ve had to face my fear of public speaking and performing, talking in front of a camera, of my own insecurities being exposed, doing photo shoots. That has been incredibly healing.”
The Way Back Home is an EP that is deeply personal yet has the ability to resonate far and wide.
The Way Back Home is available to stream now. Find out more about Aisha Badru here and have a listen to The Way Back Home below.