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Laica had us hooked last year, releasing her debut Forever EP in the pre-pandemic days of February—a lifetime ago.

Now she has released her debut album i’m so fine at being lonely. And the 11-track project, out this week via Dreams Never Die, makes absolutely clear, her EP was no fluke. She is the real deal. Her skillset is simply undeniable. But while her last project centered on young love, her evolution as an artist is already apparent on the newly released album, which delves into deeper subjects, including mental health, socioeconomic struggles and overcoming stereotypes.

To be sure, the 21-year-old Filipina is one of the most exciting voices in pop and R&B. And her introduction comes at a particularly interesting moment, in society and in the music world, which is definitely in the middle of a shakeup courtesy of massive shifts in technology, culture, consumption—and that was all before 2020 happened and turned the industry upside down.

“I think it’s absolutely okay to be alone and choose yourself before others,” says Laica of the album. “Though extremely uncomfortable at first, I found my peace of mind from being completely isolated. I had a newfound desire to build myself and grow as a person that I could be proud of, without seeking validation from others.”

And that is her strength. Her stadium-ready vocals are phenomenal, but there’s something about the candidness in her songwriting which truly sets her apart. It’s refreshing and important.

She adds: “Through this project, I wish for people to believe in the idea of never giving up on yourself, and that choosing the things that make you happy holds the utmost importance.”

Tracklist:

01 – I’m So Fine At Being Lonely
02 – Sanctuary
03 – Love U Lately
04 – Losing Feelings
05 – Twin Flame
06 – Helping Hand
07 – 20
08 – Out Of Touch
09 – Childish
10 – Good Riddance, A New Time
11 – Exit

OVERALL RATING: 3½ stars