BlackBook Premiere: New Sulene Single/Video ‘photo booth’ is Sultry Synth-Pop Perfection

Image by Spencer Kohn

Moving to America from South Africa at just 19-years-old, the now Brooklyn based songstress Sulene has already proven herself something of a musical Renaissance woman. To wit, she has composed for the hit television shows Ray Donovan and The Affair, as well as for spots by Nike, Microsoft and Dior. And as the touring guitarist in (that guy from fun.) Nate Ruess’ live band, she actually found herself in the White House performing for President Barrack Obama himself.

Somehow she’s even managed to find time to write and record her own material – and we were immediately hooked on her new single/video ‘photo booth,’ which BlackBook enthusiastically premieres here. It’s musically a near perfect encapsulation of the ’80s synth-pop ethos, with its cool, languid beat, irresistible hooks, and absolutely massive choruses – and made all the more so by her sly vocal aplomb. Lyrically, it’s a self-reflective confession on her battles with addiction and bad habits.

“No matter what I do, I come crawling back to you / So I might as well have proof / Meet me in the photo booth.”

That photo booth actually happened to be her apartment, as has been the case with so many video shoots since our universal lockdown conditions went into effect. Luckily, said apartment was equipped with an entire stage lighting set – so the end result is a hyper-sensory, also very ’80s dayglo visual extravaganza. And even in isolation, Sulene‘s effortless charisma comes blaring through.

“I wanted the video to evoke that feeling of being in an underground club,” she explains, “and sort of losing yourself in that scene. The reason I appear naked is to show vulnerability, as the song’s lyrics question whether ‘giving in’ to this moment is really such a good thing. The makeup appears warrior-like to show that I’m fighting some sort of internal battle.”

Not to spoil the surprise, but we’re pretty sure she’s going to win.

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