There is something undeniable about Marianna Zappi, and it is her powerhouse voice.
Her 2016 X Factor UK audition — Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” — garnered the approval of the notoriously critical Simon Cowell, reduced Nicole Scherzinger to tears, and went viral, earning 1.6 million views on YouTube and proving to the world that Marianna Zappi has something to say, or rather to sing.
And it’s worth listening to.
Her voice is so powerful that it seems almost to exist outside her body, an entity in and of itself, as if the breath she draws before her first note is a blissful union that marries the two. When Marianna sings, everything else in the world seems to make a bit more sense.
Her new extended play is titled Untameable, presumably after Marianna’s spirit itself.
“For someone that was caged for so long, freedom is such a blessing,” said the Italian-born singer-songwriter, who walked away from a four-year abusive relationship with the assistance of the Woman’s Trust.
The introduction of the EP’s title track, a soothing, slow-moving ballad, is enough to catapult the listener into their feelings, but Marianna does us in with the lyrics.
She seems to explore power imbalance in a relationship (“And I never know what it feels to look straight in your eyes”) and an unyielding faith in herself, but it is her search to understand the afterlife that really draws the listener in.
“Skin and bone / All alone again / Still I don’t understand where we go when we’re born again / Maybe life will never end,” she laments in a way that makes the listener feel as though this isn’t her first time processing death in all its forms, as if she once knew it was around the corner.
Amidst an electric guitar and a backing beat that prove a different side of Marianna’s musical ability, “At Every Dawn” details sleepless nights, “awakened by the weight of doubt” in which “silence creeps in but [she’s] screaming inside”.
Still, Marianna wants to be a better version of herself (“I’m ready to go through it all / Find worth on the other side”), and this self-awareness transcends from “At Every Dawn” to “It’s You” to “Running”.
On “Running”, the EP’s first single, which released six days into the new year, Marianna recognises that we sometimes run too quickly into relationships. She reflects on the fact that she perhaps should have slowed down a bit, maybe she should have walked instead of ran, so that she would have more time to think.
“You’re not lost / Neither am I / No one could ever replace yourself,” Marianna acknowledges before confessing, “I’ll still be here ten years from now / Ready to do it again.”
It’s unclear whether she views this self-awareness as a positive or a negative, but Marianna (and her voice) welcome it, and her inability to be tamed, with open arms.
Marianna Zappi’s new extended play “Untameable” is available now on all major music stores.