Photo by Se Collier
“My body’s some sort of perfect machine,” marvels Chicago singer-songwriter Oshwa (aka Alicia Walter) in her new single “Ultraflourescent”. After listening to her effortlessly finger-tap a guitar melody or stretch her voice to fill out the contours of a verse, it’s hard to argue with that assessment. Nothing about this song sounds like the product of overexertion, or exertion of any kind, really. It’s fluid and anthemic at once, the kind of tune you’d hum on a lone bike ride late at night or scream at the top of your lungs while surrounded by friends. In the past, Oshwa played with a full band and was known for intricate guitar lines, slippery time signatures, and other outward showings of virtuosity. Here, she’s content to simply be herself, ending each line with a sly smile in place of a bombastic yelp.
When we included Oshwa in our recent batch of Chicago CoSigns, it was in some ways a reintroduction to her project. She’s busy turning something old into something new, building a new identity while still wearing familiar clothes. “‘Ultrafluorescent is an introduction to ‘me,’” she explains, meaning the version of her that faces the world on her own terms, without a full-time band to support her or distract from her raw confessionalism. “I wanted to write a song that says, ‘Here I am, world! This is me, what I think, what I feel!’ I captured a lot of my natural energy in both the song and the video, so I feel like I’m saying, ‘It’s so nice to meet you!’”
It’s nice to meet you too, Oshwa, and to hear a pop song that blends its vulnerabilities and confidences so well that it’s hard to discern one from the other. ““Ultrafluorescent” will appear on Oshwa’s forthcoming album I We You Me, due out later this year. Check out the video below.