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New to You Review: "You" - dodie

by Roger Wink, VVN Music

VVN Music is dedicated to artists who have been recording for at least twenty years; however, every once in awhile, an album by a newer artist comes along that we believe our readers should consider.

YouTube has created many music artists who started by recording music in their bedrooms and have gone on to successful careers. It is still not the mainstream method but those artists that have broken out have proved that the public may recognize talent better than record company executives.

One of those artists is Dodie Clark who bills herself just as dodie. Clark started making YouTube videos ten years ago when she was just 12 and uploaded her first song in February of 2011.  Over the next six years, she put up nearly 200 videos and has amassed over 1.2 million subscribers.

Unlike many musicians, Clark divides her posts between music, both original and covers, and stream of thought and specific subject talks revolving around her life and her battle with anxiety and depression.  While this may not, at first, sound like subjects for uplifting entertainment, dodie has struck a chord with her many viewers by showing that they are not alone in how they may be feeling and offering them hope.

Dodie's struggles have also heavily influenced her music which can be divided into two broad categories.  She writes wonderful, hook filled, uptempo songs which belong on regular radio rotation along with insightful introspective ballads that address many issues that young people face.

Which brings us to You, her second EP released on her own independent label.  While that may sound like a prescription for small sales, dodie has bucked the system with the EP debuting at 6 in the U.K., 17 in Australia and 55 in the U.S.

Not bad for a 22 year old YouTube star on her own imprint.

You is a great album and a step up from her debut EP, Intertwined. The first set depended a bit too much on the more introspective numbers, only breaking free with the track "Absolutely Smitten".  On the new album, the ratio is switched with three uptempo tracks and two ballads along with a short instrumental piece.

Take for example the title song. It sounds more like something out of the 60's than the new millennium and the production emphasizes the perceived heritage with scratchy record sounds at the beginning and end.

Here's the original YouTube performance of the song before it was cut in the studio:

Then there is the infectious "Would You Be So Kind":

The two introspective songs address issues that are not only suffered by young people but those of all ages.  6/10 (aka Six out of Ten) talks about the struggles of feeling as if you are "the plain girl".  Even deeper is Secret For the Mad which delves into those who struggle with mental illness.

dodie has the potential to be a major artist but she should take it slow and not abandon the audience that she has so strongly built over the last few years. Her vulnerability and openness with her fans along with her superb songwriting are a fantastic foundation for a long career in this age of new media.