If an article is being written about an artist, mention can be made of their age, for example, or other interesting facts that might affect how someone perceives them. When writing a review, however, those things can’t be taken into account – neither leeway nor credit can be given. Songs are songs are songs, and an artist has to stand and fall on their songs when compared with any other artist.
So when I mention that Queensland singer-songwriter Cassi Hilbers is fourteen years old, it is as a point of interest and that’s all. The six songs on The Next Chapter, which is her third EP, have to be considered in the context of every other release that’s out there to hear. And they stack up very well. What Hilbers may lack in lyrical sophistication – a lack that often appears in early-career releases – she makes up for in the depth of feeling, even empathy, in her voice. That empathy is the clue that she understands that she’s singing to someone – she’s developed an awareness of audience, and that is where she reveals her maturity as a performer.
The six songs are mixture of upbeat and serious, well produced and appealing. It’s a very good foundation for a girl whose singing technique and knowledge of her genre and audience will be her best assets as she develops her career.
The Next Chapter is out now through Maven/Sony.