Tessa Kaye has shared a brand new single for 2022 with the release of the buoyantly kinetic, alt-pop piece “Sunshine & Rainbows.” Continuing to bring her own insightful introspections to the forefront of her cathartic songwriting, the new single traces Kaye’s encounters with what she calls “toxic positivity.”
Between vibrantly concussive beats and jaunty rhythms, she cuts a bold path through the bullshit smiles or attempts to make her feel bad about the very existence of lows. There’s quite a difference between pessimism and a healthy awareness that life isn’t — as the song son poignantly puts it — not always “sunshine and rainbows.”
Ever since Kaye released her first single back in 2020, stunning fans with the piercing harmonies of “Fools Gold,” her music has beautifully characterized the Los Angeles-based artist’s assertions of pride in her identity as a Black queer woman. Something necessitated by Kaye growing up in a predominantly Mormon and white community in Utah — something she left behind when she moved to the west coast.
But her songs have continued to explore the effects of her childhood within her adopted family and that community, particularly in reckoning with the idea that there is weakness in recognizing our anxieties or in having an “emotional” response. Her second single “You Know Who You Are and I Hate You” is one such song as it personifies her very anxiety into this form that she can rally against for being such a debilitating part of her life. All via a dreamy R&B medley that paints Kaye’s exasperation at her anxiousness as a kind of problematic romance.
Then there’s the biting “Smile More” that deliciously attacks the hypocrisy, absurdity, and weird entitlement that compels a man to tell a woman to smile more. But the song’s mixture of lush pop hooks, warm alt-R&B insertions, and spaciously sonorous sonics are just as enthralling as Kaye’s sharp lyricism. With the release of “Sunshine & Rainbows,” Kaye continues to build quite the heated anticipation for her debut EP and album whenever they finally arrive. We will be patiently playing her four singles on repeat until we get a full album’s worth of Kaye’s artistry.
“So many times I’ve found myself in situations where I was trying to mask my authenticity to not come off as ‘negative.’ Life isn’t always sunshine & rainbows,” Kaye said of the single. “And I’d say that’s kinda the whole point. Balance baby. Contrast. Bad times just make the good ones feel that much better.”