The latest single from Nia Nicholls cements her growing reputation as a British Taylor Swift. It is no exaggeration to say that in both her vocals and subject matter, the Welsh singer-songwriter displays the kind of Swiftian vibes that reverberate back to the American’s earlier canon of hits. ‘If You Want a Sign’ stands on the edge of pop, with Nicholls injecting a huge amount of emotion into this balladeering lovesong. It is a gushing declaration about wanting to be with someone but not make the first move; hoping that “if you feel it too/ and you’re scared to make a move/ and you’re waiting for a hint/ well if you want a sign this is it”. It is a neat follow-up to previous single ‘Forever Hold My Peace’, to which there is a cheeky reference in the final chorus, suggesting that the two songs are close companions. Indeed, the guy at the centre of both seems unaware of the singer’s feelings toward him, such ignorance reflected in Taylor’s own single ‘You Belong to Me’, from 2009. ‘If You Want a Sign’ has a much slower tempo than her guitar-led bop however, with the piano taking prominence on an arrangement that fluctuates between all-out instrumentation and stripped back performance. It conveys well the sense of angst and longing that strain from Nicholls’ voice for the one “I’ve loved… since I met you three years ago”. And by the end, the listener sure feels it too. It is another reason why comparisons with the ‘Fearless’ and ‘Red’ singer are dutifully made. For Nia Nicholls has the ability to tell a story and make it as if it were your own.
Featured Image (C) Nia Nicholls