While he might have been releasing music since 2017, the latest two years have seen Lee Cole captivate the South Africa pop music scene. The singer-songwriter began building a following with his 2020 hit ‘I Don’t Want To Wait’, and since then he has gained coverage on SA radio stations and in Spotify playlists. A year on and Lee is still riding the wave of success with his tracks ‘Pink Dragon’, ‘Emotional’ and ‘A Man That Used To Love’. We’re taking time out to look at his most recent release, ‘Cold’.
Following the piano-driven track ‘A Man That Used To Love’, Lee continues to show the beauty of simplicity in his ballad ‘Cold’. Reminiscent of John Legend, James Bay and Lewis Capaldi, Lee’s acoustic melody is soft and soothing but hides a far more turbulent narrative. What I find truly beautiful is the weaving of Lee’s rich vocals within a kaleidoscopic tapestry where there is warmth and sadness found in the tune. As with many of his contemporaries, the rise and fall of the piano showcase talent but also how a basic arrangement can capture the soul and ensnare a person’s senses.
As I mentioned, Lee is able to infuse a flowing melody with poignant lyricism. Known for his exploration of relationships, Lee’s boldly touches on vulnerability, isolation and anxiety in ‘Cold’. A personal narrative, as if he is writing in a diary, connects with listeners on a deeper level building trust between the singer and audience; a trust that inspires true intimacy in an intense sound. Of course, the melody can represent the intricate emotions beating in his heart with swells and dips taking you along the emotional journey. Then again, I think too much, and any intriguing music can inspire me.
“‘Cold’ was a song I wrote while in the USA in 2019. I was there for 3 months and was at quite a low in my life. ‘Cold’ represents change to me. It’s about admitting that maybe you don’t know how to love and that the person you’re trying to love is better off without you. It’s bittersweet because on one hand, you don’t want to feel lonely; you crave that companionship, but on the other hand, you keep hurting the people closest to you because you’re scared to love.” – Lee Cole on ‘Cold’
Being South African myself I tend to view South African artists favourably but when a musician shares provocative, insightful and sentimental songs the slight bias is irrelevant. Lee Cole can entrance audiences across the globe and does not need my help to be viewed as a true artist. I cannot wait to see what else he has up his sleeve.