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I remember when I was 16, scuffing my comfortable (read ugly) school shoes on sun-beaten pavements, living life one history essay at a time. Determinedly decorating my exercise book margins and colouring my nails with white out because I will stand out Goddammit!

Lupa J

At the age of 16, Lupa J proves she is a tour de force of creativity on her latest single Statues.

If only I’d known all I needed to do was make superb electronic folk music and be an ace with a violin. Oh the chemical poisoning I could have avoided!

Meet Lupa J, aka. Imogen Jones. She writes, records and produces all her own music and, in case the self indulgent exposé on yours truly masquerading as an introduction didn’t sufficiently communicate this, she is just 16.

Trained in classical violin and a student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School it is almost expected that she would be totally kickass when it comes to music. What you don’t expect is that she incorporates her knowledge of the classical genres and love for electronica to create a sound that demonstrates a perfect symbiosis.

Jones has a voice that could be described as ethereal but a timbre that provides a depth and earthy maturity. In her latest song, Statues, the layered sounds of pizzicato violins and synthesised strings may conjure images of innocence or whimsy but the music also grows roots in the strong electronic base line and melded rhythms. These features encourage, yet also prevents you from completely floating away on the beautifully crafted melody. True to form, this song is understated in its composition. This does not mean that there are no builds or crescendos, merely that both vocal and instrumental performances are equally balanced and nuanced, each appears intrinsic to the other.

Despite Jones’ youth, her lyrics are mature in their simplicity, although the themes are not far from what you might imagine a 16 year old to be exploring – identity, love, expectation – it is the manner in which they are expressed and communicated that sets her apart. Restraint is evident throughout all elements of the song and is, I believe, expertly exercised.

Lupa J was one of Triple J’s Unearthed High finalists this year and for good reason. Australia has some incredibly inventive and diverse young musicians who are slowly but surely making their mark but it is a difficult path. So three cheers for Lupa J, she is a young female musician, writing, performing, recording and producing music on top of tackling high school! What will she do next?

Lupa J’s debut EP The Seed will be released 18 September.

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September 15, 2014

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