Fleur East exudes confidence with ‘FEARLESS’.

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Platinum East

The cover of Fleur East’s second studio album, ‘FEARLESS’.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

English singer-songwriter and dancer Fleur East has had quite the success story over the past decade.

She made her initial debut in late 2005 as a member of British girl group Addictiv Ladies, who appeared on the second season of British reality television series The X Factor but were eliminated after the first week.

East then continued to pursue music as a solo artist, putting out a handful of singles while touring with various musical acts throughout 2011 and 2012 before independently releasing her debut EP, She, in December 2013, however, these endeavors failed to get her career off of the ground, and she struggled to make ends meet as she worked a handful of jobs in early 2014.

It was during this low point in her life that her friends and family encouraged her to re-audition for The X Factor, which she did later that year, making it all the way to the grand finale of the show’s eleventh season and ultimately finishing as the runner-up, thus finally capturing the eye of the general public.

Armed with her newfound popularity and mainstream stardom, East signed to Syco Music in January 2015 and dropped her debut major-label single, “Sax”, that November — a smash hit that peaked at #3 on the UK Singles Chart and earned her international recognition that was further expanded by the arrival of her debut album, Love, Sax and Flashbacks, the next month.

Following her majorly successful debut era, Fleur East mutually parted ways with Syco to become an independent artist once more in October 2017, after which she took a break from music to focus on other ventures, such as competing on the eighteenth season of British reality television series I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in late 2018, before making her return to music with her comeback single, “Favourite Thing”, in January 2019 and eventually releasing her second studio album, FEARLESS, in mid-March of this year.

Her first album in over four years, FEARLESS is an eclectic record that explores a diverse range of genres from contemporary pop, R&B, and soul to dancehall, salsa, and tropical pop; and as it was released through East’s own label, Platinum East, the album has a more raw, authentic sound in comparison to that of her debut record while still retaining her signature charm.

Lyrically, FEARLESS is all about confidence and having confidence in both yourself and your relationships, touching on themes relating to love and empowerment through playful, yet honest lyricism.

The opening track, “Easy to Love”, is a minimalist contemporary bop on which East sarcastically boasts about how easy it is to love her despite her reputation for breaking hearts and hurting feelings. It’s a fun way to open the album and introduce her confident attitude without taking anything too seriously before moving into more sincere tracks like the fifth single, “Mine”, and the non-single “Things I Should’ve Said”.

The former is a highly emotional electro pop moment and a depiction of using casual sex as a means of escaping one’s problems, while at the same time yearning for a deeper connection with the person that you’re sharing these liaisons with beyond the physical, and the latter is a confessional ballad that sees East tearfully wishing to have been able to tell her inept ex what she really thought of him while they were still together, detailing all of the ways that she gave him her all and got nothing in return.

What makes this song so great is that we usually expect a piano ballad about a former lover to be tragic, with the singer discussing how they miss them or want to apologize for how the relationship ended, but instead, East is quite literally singing about how much of a loser her ex was and expressing how badly she wishes she could’ve let him know that he was a loser when she had the chance. Amazing.

As for the empowerment theme, on the dancehall-influenced fourth single, “Lucky”, East refutes the notion that luck is the reason behind her success and asserts that she’s only become successful because of how hard she’s worked for it, not because she’s “lucky”, and the non-single “Who You Are” with British singer-songwriter Nia Ekanem is a direct message of empowerment to her listeners, encouraging them to love themselves and everything that makes them unique — flaws and all.

Other standout tracks include “There She Go” — a salsa-inspired bop about a reckless woman who enjoys going around breaking hearts; the third single, “Size” — a funky banger about finding a lover who fits your body just right; and “Fame” — a hip-hop criticism of people whose only goal of becoming a celebrity is to simply be famous as well as a warning for being careful what you wish for.

Although it may sound somewhat generic at times with a few lackluster tracks here and there; like the second single, “Figured Out”; in addition to having some poor mixing choices, specifically on “No Boy No Cry”, FEARLESS is a solid project, and what it lacks in innovation, it makes up for in personality. 

Fleur East has come a long way from her initial appearance on The X Factor, evolving into the star that she always wanted to be, and FEARLESS is available now across all online and streaming platforms.

Stream FEARLESS on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1K6Ysz8y164For9ImmTMtO?si=-UW4mUBETlW31m3PfeDb_w 

Watch the music video for “Lucky”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtt8t59T1nE

East in the music video for “Lucky”.