Many hard truths are revealed when relationships come to an end. Moving on is not the same as forgetting — oftentimes, it means the opposite. The perspective offered by heartbreak can be difficult to convey, but Nashville singer Jillian Steele’s sound is custom-made for this brand of complexity, as is displayed on latest single “Forget About Forgetting Me.” Equal parts pop and country, Steele manipulates the genres to accentuate particular aspects of her music: the pop appeal of her voice creates a sincere relatability while subtle country accents play the background, as in the twang in the guitar supporting the track. While her bitterness on the track is perhaps vengeful, it’s also realistic. “It ain’t easy forgetting about me,” she sings, later reminding her ex that he “better believe you’re gonna play me on repeat.” With writing as intoxicating and a track as ear-catching as “Forget About Forgetting Me,” the latter line is a warning for us as much as it is her target.
A Nashville transplant originally from New York, Steele’s genre creativity comes organically from her surroundings. Her presence in the capital of country music has seen Steele immerse herself fully in the music scene, connecting with writers James Adam Shelley and Michael August for “Forget About Forgetting Me.” In showing support for both Hunter Hayes and Rachel Platten on their respective tours, we’re meeting Steele at a point in her career where she can pair her talent with experience. In her first appearance of 2023, Steele sets the tone for a year in which we won’t forget her, even if we tried.