Reviews / Sync Stories


Written by Sandy James
Edited by Farinoush Mostaghimi (Noush)

Inescapably soulful and rapidly flourishing, singer/songwriter Debbie Reifer is making her mark out of Bridgetown, Barbados. After establishing herself as a staple within the Caribbean music community, her jazzy brand of contemporary pop and lighthearted reggae is making waves internationally. Reifer burst onto the music scene in 2012, joining elite company as a finalist in the UK Song Writing Contest by 2013, before being nominated for Best New Artist at the 2014 Barbados Music Awards. She has collaborated with major influencers in the music industry including producers Clive Hunt (Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Cliff) and Toby Armstrong (Hal Linton, R&B Record of the Year at the 2007 Barbados Music Awards). As she shifts her pursuits to placing music in film and television, Reifer is already being well received. Most notably, her 2013 single “Amber” was featured in last night’s episode of the Emmy-nominated series Ray Donovan on Showtime.

“Amber” is a beautifully haunting reminder of the feeling that can emerge from suppressed feeling. Reifer’s voice steers you through an uneasily swayed melody, while she tells all too real tales of imprisonment and escape. The song is about domestic violence, while Reifer’s words serve as advice to ease her protagonist’s suffering. The track is continuously flowing and lyric heavy. Its cadence is comparable to that of a concerned family member or close friend offering guidance, albeit more poetic: “Oh run, run, run, from every mistake I’ve made/And the brilliant blade that seeks to steal your heart.” Behind a brooding tempo, Reifer’s music takes you to foggy nights on rocky shores. It’s like a soulful sailor tune reserved for when the ship goes down. While she speaks of escape, Reifer also describes beauty in experiencing both the pain and joy in life, and the strength that comes from moments of weakness: “Feel every tear and know you’re alive/ Beautifully made with the breath of life.” While the track has been featured in global campaigns to end violence against women, Reifer asserts it is intended for anybody with loved ones and that can benefit from the message. Much like the issues Reifer confronts in “Amber,” the song’s story is left unresolved. As the music fades, along with Reifer’s lyrical comforting, the resolution is left to the listener.


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