It’s easy to believe that Katy B was born to be a chart-topper. That giant beaming grin, the boundless impishness of her vocal; how she stamps her personality all over her music with such ageless excitement. On her debut album On a Mission, she sprints towards the PA for its entire 55 minutes with such a natural thrill that only those with hearts of steel won’t find something to love.
Katy B is the poster-girl for a new type of pop, and then some – she’s the poster-girl for herself. Far from an Auto-Tuned mannequin, she’s self aware and an effortless star. And there’s humour too, neatly evidenced in the sharp wit of her casual rhyme on Easy Please Me, which features the lyric "Standing in the bar / With my friend Olivia". This kind of edgy, fresh sound hasn’t been seen on a pop debut since Sugababes and Artful Dodger first landed in the charts.
On a Mission moves through house, dubstep, drum’n’bass, rave, UK garage and RnB with ease, attacking each with such accessibility it’s not hard to imagine each track topping the singles charts. Early single Lights On is bold and oh-so-catchy, while Witches Brew adds a more vicious, cluttered sound to the mix.
The production is sharp and cutting throughout, never losing its feverish hi-NRG. DJ Zinc adds a smattering of 90s house and Benga splices her songs with clattery sounds; Rinse FM co-founder Geeneus’ addition is a deep house groove which translates perfectly to Katy B’s warm vocal. The way she feels each note emulates less obvious artists, at least from this side of the Atlantic – the likes of Marsha Ambrosius and Jazmine Sullivan are all fair reference points for the soul in their voice.
Katy B is a new breed of singer, adding a vibrant gloss to a new combination of sounds with a charm and personality all of her own. She’s shining bright and crying out to be taken on as Britain’s new favourite pop star – and if this album is anything to go by, it looks like the stage is set.