manali marks her arrival with expansive debut single ‘temple’

Star-crossed lovers steal away from the world on temple, the angelic and evocative new single from manali.  

In the era of bite-sized pop, it’s all-too easy for musicians to forgo true sonic storytelling for the sake of radio-readiness. Then, an artist like manali comes around to remind us that songs can be both catchy and introspective; palatable without sacrificing virtuosity.

With her expansive sonics and lyrical depth, manali makes good on that potential with temple, a debut single that paves the way for what’s sure to be an illustrious music career. 

manali new single 'temple'

Like any good story, temple opens with the air of a fairytale, speckled with the unique flourish of Bollywood-sounding percussion. Backed by airy synth sections, it’s manali’s vocals that  glisten the brightest, which is not to say she’s uninterested with the track’s surrounding composition. 

Across temple’s runtime, manali incorporates a mosaic of sounds from classical Indian to sultry R’nB, with groove-laden drums and the intimacy of bedroom pop to boot.

manali new single 'temple'

It’s a pastiche of genres  that even a veteran musician mightn’t muster, but temple is doubly impressive given that it marks first-ever release.

With such a diverse palette, it’d be easy for temple to feel like a mish-mash, but with the anchor of manali’s angelic melodies and the throughline of atmospheric soul, the single feels less like a caricature of her influences than a seamless homage to them.

This expansive taste requires a depth of storytelling to match, which temple has in spades. In what reads like a star-crossed fable, the single recounts the tale of two lovers stealing away from life’s obstacles.

manali new single 'temple'

Dotted by evocative images like “silk shirts” and “lying in the forest,” you can almost picture temple’s subjects as they dart from town-to-town; a testament to manali’s commitment to both musical style and lyrical substance. 

In the style of fellow Australian singer Odette, manali is interested in both stories and the music that soundtracks them, but she elsewhere cites Pharrell, SZA and Caroline Polachek as key influences.

manali new single 'temple'

temple itself was inspired by a lyric lifted from Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange cut, Monks; further evidence of manali emulating the great storytellers that came before her. 

Such artistry is perhaps to be expected from a triple-threat like manali, who has elsewhere appeared onstage as an actor, and forms one half of the music duo ultrafine.

temple is accompanied by an official music video, premiering today (August 18), further cementing manali as a talent both in front of the cameras and behind the microphone. 

Check out the music video for temple above, and scroll down to listen to manali’s debut single on Spotify.