Niykee Heaton, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter based in Chicago, first grabbed attention after posting an acoustic cover of Chief Keef’s “Love Sosa” on YouTube in 2012, eventually signing with Steve Rifkind and Russell Simmons’ All Def Music. Soft and sultry with a hint of gravel, Heaton’s voice remains hypnotic throughout the entirety of her debut EP “Bad Intentions.” With tracks ranging from club bangers to classic pop ballads, Heaton’s signature vocals somehow manage to make them all into a cohesive whole.
“Sober,” the opening track, tackles the challenges of addiction. The underlying repetitive bass aids in reproducing the buzzed feeling one might have after a few drinks, and the lull of the lyrics is hauntingly dreamy, as Heaton coos, “Say goodnight. I’m still lying awake by your side.”
The following song, “Champagne” is slightly reminiscent of something on a Drake or The Weekend album, yet Heaton’s stylistic take on this age-old theme of alcohol and heartache remains memorable, if only for its addictive chorus which cleverly croons about needing “champagne for the pain.” The trap beat is slow and enigmatic — perfect for a late night out.
Up next is the title track, “Bad Intentions,” which is ironically the weakest of all the songs on the album. The lyricism is quite trite, speaking of the “abysmal oceans where good girls go to die” and wanting to “take a trip ten thousand miles above the clouds.” However, the song is somewhat salvaged by Heaton’s emotional vocals which, despite mediocre melodies, remain very effective.
The fourth single, “Skin Tight,” marks an up-beat transition in the album. It’s a classic love song, and it’s most charming quality is the simplicity of its lyrics: “We could do this all night/ Where your body fits right/ Boy your love is skintight/ Alright.”
The unpredictability and intensity of a first love is a story to which many can probably relate.
“Rolling Stone” is your standard pop ballad. Heaton shows off her vocal range here as she proclaims to her lover, “Give me ten minutes, let me bare my soul.” While the hook is rather catchy, the song as a whole is comparatively forgettable.
“Villa” the sixth and final song on the album is the most distinctive based on sound alone. Classic pop vocals mixed in with a rather rhythmic acoustic Spanish guitar leads to a great listen as Heaton promises that “what happens here, it stays with the villa.”
“Bad Intentions” did a great job of solidifying the teen’s bad girl image while still proving that she possesses the talent to leave a mark in the ever-changing world of music.
While the EP is not without its faults, Heaton still displays a certain level of artistry and mastery of performance that separates her from the myriad of wannabe pop stars. If she maintains this level of freshness and fun, she could have a long career ahead of her.