Jean Deaux Moves Forward on “nowhere, fast” [EP Review]

Kieran Kohorst

Jean Deaux doesn’t have time to waste - to open her new EP 'nowhere, fast,' the Chicago artist lays out the themes that will inform the music to come in a voicemail to listeners. “I don’t know what I want,” Deaux starts, before unraveling a stream of consciousness about change, chasing closure while it seems to vanish on the horizon, reflecting on freedom and what it truly means, along with if its what she truly wants. “I still dream about the old me,” she admits before turning the page and beginning the project’s first true song, “Dreamin.” Softly, contemplatively, her mind stays on what’s been lost rather than what’s been won, addressing the track to all of her ex-somethings she has left behind. Given the themes of the project, it is unsurprising that Deaux crafted this record as a reflection of a specific time in her life. “It’s about coming to the end of your 20-somethings and feeling everything has been such a blur, from childhood to young adulthood, to now just being who I am,” she explains. “Everything has flown past me and I feel like I’ve come so far but at the same time, so many things look the same. So many things blend in with each other into the background.” 

A true visionary - in addition to being a cross-genre singer-songwriter, Deaux has also filled roles as a creative director and filmmaker - Deaux stays true to the narrative of the project throughout. With some bounce in her step, she attacks “TWUG (That’s What U Get)” with a confident sense of self, which carries over into the melodically infectious “Roll With Me,” which also features the EP’s most dynamic production. As Deaux looks back on these moments in her lyrics, she is astoundingly adept at existing in the two spaces of the past and present. Her ability to relive these memories while also instilling her recollection with implied growth is conveyed in her lyrics as well as her delivery. The balance Deaux finds in her songwriting is something to marvel at, on all levels. 

The defining song of nowhere, fast is undoubtedly the Destin Conrad duet “Thinkin,” where both Deaux and Conrad are given space to display their love for those in their life while striving to be present in their respective realities. Speaking on the track’s purpose, Deaux offers: “I’ve always felt like this ‘Where’s Waldo’ figure in the middle of the busiest planet in the galaxy. Trying to find my pace, my rhythm, and fearing that I won’t catch it in time and life is going to pass me by. As I’m healing through those feelings and getting to a place where I’m establishing my life & who I am, and I'm getting to those answers—before I get there, I want to explore this feeling that I am now. The feeling that’s encouraged me to transition and graduate into the next feeling of my life.” While Deaux’s growth has been evident, she’s true to her core as a creative. In this case, Deaux’s best art is a mirror, reflecting way more than just the person who stands in her shoes today.

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