It’s been a while since we’ve heard a falsetto like that. With the drop of “Unholy”, the long-awaited debut album of Collard, it can feel like you’re going through a glorious form of time travel. It’s not so much that there are nods to old-school vocals and soul, it’s more like the whole album vibrates with them. Formally of the Last Night In Paris collective, the 24-year-old Londoner had to break out solo to find his balance of modern edge with a vintage soul. Then, of course, there’s the voice. His control shines through on tracks like “Murder Murder”, but it’s through the album as a whole that you appreciate the range, depth, and versatility of the music.
The recently released video for “Ground Control” has already been making a stir and growing an interest in the new album. “The ‘Ground Control’ visual is a depiction of me battling with my own demons and feelings as if I’m forever followed and seduced by a devilish, Mephistopheles like character (Kojey Radical),” Collard explained in a press release. “Through many conversations with my creative directors (Eseosa Ohen & Joseph Shaw) we all agreed we wanted to take a more theatrical route in terms of the production to extenuate as much as possible the feeling of danger and self-enabled helplessness which led me down the destructive path the song is based on.”
That darkness seems to be an innate part of his writing process — one that doesn’t hold him back, but spurs him forward. “You think LA is going to unlock this creative thing,” Collard said of his work. “But I need to be miserable to write and London makes me miserable! I love that.” But the album still has many moments of playfulness, funk, and raw sexuality, alongside a deep emotional candour.
The new album seems to synthesize a diverse range of influences, interests, and styles — each track working as a layer to create a more holistic and honest portrayal of who Collard is and what he has to offer. Together, there’s a timeless, universal quality to his sound that will resonate in a way that moves past traditional genres. And if the album leaves you hungry for more, don’t worry — with a mind like his, Collard’s wheels are already spinning. “‘Unholy’ is just the first chapter,” he said. “I’m already thinking about the next one.”