Even at a young age, the spotlight followed Violetta Zironi. Born in the provincial town of Correggio in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Zironi picked up her first instrument at 3 and was playing in festivals with her family in her early teens. At 17, she made her television debut as a contestant on the Italian version of the X Factor. While she didn’t win the contest, Zironi won over Italian audiences with her honeyed vocals and classic country-folk approach.
A little more than a year ago, she moved to London in an effort to breakthrough in the ultra-competitive English-language market. On Friday, she released her debut EP, Half Moon Lane, which is the start of her journey to being a global sensation. To being recognized as Italy’s version and a modern-day answer to June Carter.
The extended player commences with “Toast”, which will make people a believer in Zironi’s potential. The 22-year old singer-songwriter turns the simple breakfast staple into the focus of a heart-melting, beautiful ballad that sounds more like it came from the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee or the Blue Mountains of Australia. Zironi’s lyrics are clever and imaginative, and her remarkable voice heightens their effect.
“So are you going to make me that toast
Because I’m not ready to go.
If you’re just a speed bump
Then I’ll get over you.”
The title track also bleeds of the Deep South. With a familiar acoustic folk approach, Zironi channels her inner Patsy Cline to share a story from her childhood about a man would tell tales of a “Half Moon Lane”. The song is beautifully nostalgic, sending memories of times when your father or grandfather reading you bedtime stories. A similar enchantment streams through “Song With Felix”, as its fairy tale-like melody and storyline and Zironi’s wistful vocals create the feeling of an evening at Disneyland. On “Let’s Get Lost”, Zironi plucks theukulele and shares a love tune that echoes Elvis Presley and Don Ho. This is a song made for a slow walk on the beach at sunset.
Zironi, though, is at her best when she goes more widescreen and merges the past and present. With “Muddy Fields”, she and her band deliver a dark, roots tune that will send shivers down your spine. It’s the EP’s most haunting and chilling number, and the sombre story of a tragedy complements the vibe.
On the stunning “Don’t Make Me A Fool”, Zironi’s vocals reach the lush standards of Hope Sandoval. As spellbinding is her voice, her songwriting is also beautiful. She reminds us that innocence is bliss and there is still a place for dreamers in this world. And we don’t have to go far to find one young woman living out her dreams. A young woman who will make people believe that music can still be a place for great stories and to get lost in the dazzling beauty of one’s art.
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