Jaelee Small Explores the Complexity of Heredity and Identity on “TicToc”

Jaelee Small, photo courtesy the artist

The spare piano progression at the beginning of Jaelee Small’s “TicToc” leads you to believe you’re in store for a simple but emotionally urgent song. But the song progresses into a more full sound in the choruses with horns, and a richer array of percussion than the metronomic time keeping when the song starts off. Along with the broadening of sound, Small’s vocals ring out and harmonize, drawing out notes and the swelling of emotions. The song is about Small’s having first been in touch with the father she never truly knew growing up and the complex emotions and confusion regarding what she was hoping to get out of the relationship before he passed away. The song also sounds like one of learning to be patient with yourself and kind about your insecurities and accepting that personal growth isn’t a step-by-step, liner process of progression for anyone and that identity is never as simple as discovering your roots, your genetic background or connecting with a subculture or any other demographical facts. Although a short song at two minutes thirty-one seconds, Small’s song seems to evoke that complexity alongside the deep human yearning to know. Listen to “TicToc” on Soundcloud and follow Jaelee Small at the links provided.