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Five on it: Chlöe steps into the limelight – and a new era – with her solo debut

Chlöe Bailey's debut solo track is finally here. Plus new music from other faves Syd, Ray Blk, Ms Banks and Mária Isabel.

10 Sep 2021

As one half of child R&B duo Chloe x Halle, Chloe Bailey is accustomed to the limelight; their father began teaching the sisters how to write songs at the tender ages of 10 and eight, before they began their YouTube channel three years later. One of those videos, a cover of pop superstar Beyoncé’s ‘Best Thing I Never Had’, drew the attention of Queen Bey herself who swept the pair under her wing and onto her management company. 

Chloe and Halle have always been together, but now at the respective ages of 23 and 21, they are stepping into their own for the first time. In 2019, Halle signed up to portray Ariel in the live action Disney remake of The Little Mermaid (another thing delayed thanks to COVID) – but by and large, Chloe has been quiet. 

Earlier in the year, after the sisters created individual social media accounts for the first time,  having only ever posted jointly as @chloexhalle, Chlöe (a name change now she is working solo) drew some unjust scrutiny on the internet. Trolls honed in on her new, sexier image, accusing her of flaunting her body for attention as she took part in the viral ‘Buss It’ Challenge, whilst others ogled in the comments. 

“‘Have Mercy’ is a bold re-introduction to Chlöe as a solo entity that embodies her confidence as she steps in the spotlight”

Either way, everyone seemed to have an opinion and many chose to make it known – whether it be fans, the media or those aforementioned trolls. It’s easy to forget, when people are famous, that they are still people at the other end of the line and – as a young woman finding herself – it can surely be disconcerting to suddenly have so much attention over a physicality that isn’t necessarily your career. It’s uncomfortable at best, and hurtful at worst.

At the time, Chlöe responded on an emotional and tearful Instagram Live but went on to defend her posts, stating: “For every woman out there, don’t change who you are to make society feel comfortable. I’m telling myself that’s not what I’m going to do.”

Her debut solo single ‘Have Mercy’ reinforces that unapologetic and defiant sentiment. While the track drew initial traction when Chlöe teased a clip on TikTok back in July (that blew up, may we add), now ‘Have Mercy’ is with us it is clear that the elder Bailey sister made good on her promise and has no machinations of filtering either herself or the music she intends to create. 

From the bass and chunky R&B tone to the sleek vocal delivery, ‘Have Mercy’ is a bold re-introduction to Chlöe as a solo entity that embodies her confidence as she steps into the spotlight on her own for the very first time. It is the beginning of a new era and a new identity for this sister. 

Chlöe – ‘Have Mercy’

The self-assurance simply overflows here! Those pounding bass notes and that moody production create a darker sound for Chlöe and shows that she is worth your attention outside of the sibling duo that made her famous. A self-love anthem and unapologetic flex, ‘Have Mercy’ makes sure you won’t be forgetting Chlöe any time soon; as she says, “You can’t get this thickness outta your mind”.

Syd – ‘Right Track’ (feat. Smino)

Following in the wake of this year’s earlier release ‘Fast Car’, Syd’s new single ‘Right Track’ shows that the poppier sound was certainly not a fluke. Perhaps even lighter than her previous outing, ‘Fast Car’ deploys the frivolous plucking of Spanish guitar over brisk beats for an urgent yet eager atmosphere. Teaming up with Smino on the feature, ‘Right Track’ has Syd reaching out for commitment in a relationship.

Ray BLK – ‘Over You’ (feat. Stefflon Don)

The latest single shared from her highly anticipated debut album Access Denied, ‘Over You’ is a rhythmic drop that sees Ray BLK celebrate getting over a guy and living her best life. Teaming up with Stefflon Don over the stone-cold classic Diwali riddim, the track highlights Ray’s range with its melody and catchy hook. 

Ms Banks – ‘Go Low’

While she’s already had a busy year dropping anthems such as ‘Interest’, ‘Pull Up’ and teaming-up with Stefflon Don on ‘Dip’, Ms Banks is back with ‘Go Low’. Coming with the announcement of upcoming mixtape Bank Statement, ‘Go Low’ is playfully rhythmic with its chunky beats and dancehall vibes. It’s perfect to get down to, and as Ms Banks says herself, “since we can’t go Notting Hill Carnival, I’ll bring Notting Hill Carnival to you”.

Mária Isabel – ‘Baby…’

Plucked from her new EP I Hope You’re Very Unhappy Without Me – released today – ‘Baby…’ is the latest single from Dominican-American talent Mária Isabel. It shows a different side to her established sound – while previous outing ‘No Soy Para Ti’ mixed in the reggaeton of her roots, ‘Baby…’ brings downtowned R&B beats and chilled production for a melancholy air as Mária laments a past relationship gone sour while holding her ex accountable for their actions.